Air pollution shortens 400,000 life

Polluted air has led in Europe to 2016 to approximately 400,000 premature deaths. Almost all people in European cities are exposed to polluted air, warns the European environment Agency in a recent report. “Air pollution is currently the greatest environmental risk to human health.”

In its Air Quality Report in 2019, the European authority for rating the risk of various air pollutants for 41 countries in the year 2016. The researchers used data from more than 4,000 measuring stations in the whole of Europe.

  • Thus died 412.000 people prematurely by fine dust-particlessmaller than 2.5 micro-meters and deep into the respiratory tract can penetrate. By the fine dust of 4.2 million years of life lost according to the calculations. Approximately 374.000 of the deaths occurred in people in the European Union.
  • 71,000 people died prematurely because of nitrogen dioxide were subjected to. The Gas is especially troubling asthmatics problems and led, therefore, to 707.000 years of life lost.
  • Because ground-level ozone have died, according to the report of 15,100 people in advance, the fabric can also affect the respiratory system. He led, therefore, to 160,000 years of life lost in the whole of Europe.

Since more of the pollutants than death meet cause can not be added to the number. For the European Union, the report comes to a total of 400,000 people who have died due to air pollution prematurely.

Influence of fine dust lobbyists

In comparison to calculations from the last year, the Numbers fell back slightly, the air quality has improved in many cities in Western and southern Europe, including in Germany. This development of course however, slowly, said study author Alberto Gonzáles Ortiz. “We have not yet reached the European standards, which the world health organisation, we are still far away.”

Nino Künzli, Deputy Director Swiss tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), the Situation is generally positive: “The EEA report clearly shows that the world health organization proposed concentrations of air pollutants can be met if the policy purports to these goals,” he told the Science Media centre.

This is the example of the oxides of nitrogen to recognize: “The annual mean values are only at ten percent of all monitoring stations of the WHO proposed, and of the EU as a threshold value predetermined value of 40 micrograms per cubic meter. Without cheating scandals, the Situation would be even better.”

The fine dust, however, missed 69 percent of the stations, the annual guideline value of world health organisation of 10 micrograms per cubic meter. “For years, the EU refuses to this benchmark to enshrine it in law”, criticised Künzli. “Instead, the EU has anchored for the fine dust of lobbyists promoted – much too high – an annual average of 25 micrograms per cubic meter in the Directive – even today.”

Fewer cars – a “Win-Win-Situation”

In principle, the EU obliged its member States to certain pollutant limits. In June, the European court of justice had tightened the rules. Therefore, cities need to be active, if limit values are exceeded at a single location – and not only when the average values in the various measuring stations are too high. In Germany to 2018 in 57 cities was in breach of the Federal environment Agency, according to against the EU limit value for nitrogen dioxide.

In order to reduce air pollution, especially by nitrogen dioxide, is an important step to reduce the number of cars in cities, says Ortiz. “If we tackle air pollution, we fight at the same time climate change, lot of noise and promote a healthy behaviour,” says Ortiz. “It’s a Win-Win Situation.”

In addition to the car traffic, among other things, power plants, industry, and agriculture to air pollution in case of wear.