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Environmental Policies Across EU Set Up Dramatic Improvement in Air Quality That Has Saved Thousands of Lives


There has been a remarkable improvement in air quality in Europe over the last decade, reports the European Environment Agency, with European Union, national and local policies and emission cuts in key sectors making a big difference in reduction. of air pollution levels.

According to EEA Air quality in Europe – 2020 reportSince 2000, emissions of key air pollutants, including nitrogen oxides, from transportation have declined significantly, despite growing demand for mobility and the associated increase in greenhouse gas emissions from the sector. Emissions of pollutants from the energy supply have also seen significant 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 from fine particle pollution in 2018, compared to 2009. For nitrogen dioxide, the reduction is even greater as premature deaths have decreased by approximately 54% during the last decade. The continuous implementation of environmental and climate policies in Europe is a key factor behind the improvements.

“EEA data shows that investing in better air quality is an investment in improving the health and productivity of all Europeans. Policies and actions that are consistent with Europe’s zero pollution ambition lead to longer and healthier lives and more resilient societies. said Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director of the EEA, in a statement.

PLUS: Dramatic drop in London’s air pollution since 2016, when the mayor cracked down

“It is good news that air quality is improving thanks to the environmental and climate policies we have been implementing… With the European Green Deal we have set ourselves the ambition of reducing all types of pollution to zero. If we want to be successful and fully protect people’s health and the environment, we must further reduce air pollution and align our air quality standards more closely with World Health Organization recommendations, ”said Virginijus Sinkevičius. , European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries. he explained.

The next steps for the nations of Europe include following the EU Action Plan towards a Zero pollution ambition within the framework of the European Green Deal.

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