Reducing urban air pollution in 31 European countries to below the WHO recommended levels could prevent more than 50,000 deaths per year, and if the cities manage to bring down air pollution in line with the lowest measured levels, over 200,000 annual deaths could be prevented.
Better air quality in Europe has led to a reduction in premature deaths over the past decade, but excessive levels of hazardous tiny particles are still causing more than 400,000 premature deaths every year.
In 2019, emissions of sulphur dioxide from large point sources decreased in all of the top three emitter countries – India, Russia and China. The biggest sulphur emissions hotspot is still the Norilsk smelter in northern Russia.
In its first report on countries’ progress towards EU air pollution goals, the European
Commission said that most member states are at risk of missing their binding emission
reduction targets for both 2020 and 2030.
Binding EU air pollution emission limits still breached