Source: European Environment Agency – Air pollution is a serious problem in many European cities, posing a real risk to health. The European Environment Agency (EEA) launched the European city air quality viewer, which allows citizens to check how the air quality in their city has developed in the past two years and how that compares with other cities across Europe.
In the EEA’s new city air quality viewer, cities are ranked from the cleanest city to the most polluted, on the basis of average levels of fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, over the past two calendar years.
From 2019 to 2020, the top three cleanest cities in Europe in terms of air quality were Umeå in Sweden, Tampere in Finland and Funchal in Portugal. The three most polluted were Nowy Sacz in Poland, Cremona in Italy and Slavonski Brod in Croatia.
Of the 323 cities included in the viewer, air quality in 127 cities is categorised as good, meaning that it falls below the health-based guideline for long-term exposure to PM2.5 of 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air (10 μg/m3) established by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The European Union has set an annual limit value for PM2.5 of 25 μg/m3 under policies to deliver clean air in Europe. The viewer rates the long-term air quality as very poor when PM2.5 levels are at or above this threshold, with five cities in Poland, Croatia and Italy falling in this category.
Fine particulate matter is the air pollutant with the highest impact on health in terms of premature death and disease. The viewer provides information on long term air quality in each city. Long term exposure to PM2.5 causes cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
While there has been a marked improvement in Europe’s air quality over the past decade, the EEA’s latest annual air quality assessment found that exposure to fine particulate mater caused about 417,000 premature deaths in 41 European countries in 2018.
Find the Air Quality Viewer and full article here!