As reported by the European Environment Agency, over the last ten years, there have been great improvements in the quality of European air, with European Union, local and national policies and emission cuts in key sectors Playing a big role in reducing air pollution levels.
The EEA’s Air quality in Europe — 2020 report revealed that, since 2000, key air pollutants emissions, including nitrogen oxides, from transport have declined significantly, despite growing mobility demand and associated increase in the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions. Pollutant emissions from energy supply have also seen major reductions while progress in reducing emissions from buildings and agriculture has been slow.
Thanks to better air quality, around 60,000 fewer people died prematurely due to fine particulate matter pollution in 2018, compared with 2009. For nitrogen dioxide, the reduction is even greater as premature deaths have declined by about 54% over the last decade. The continuing implementation of environmental and climate policies across Europe is a key factor behind the improvements.
In a statement, Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director, revealed that:
The EEA’s data prove that investing in better air quality is an investment for better health and productivity for all Europeans. Policies and actions that are consistent with Europe’s zero pollution ambition, lead to longer and healthier lives and more resilient societies.Hans Bruyninckx
European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius explained
It is good news that air quality is improving thanks to the environmental and climate policies that we have been implementing… With the European Green Deal we have set ourselves an ambition of reducing all kinds of pollution to zero. If we are to succeed and fully protect people’s health and the environment, we need to cut air pollution further and align our air quality standards more closely with the recommendations of the World Health Organization.Virginijus Sinkevičius