Environment and health
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A clean environment is essential for human health and well-being. However, the interactions between the environment and human health are highly complex and difficult to assess. This makes the use of the precautionary principle particularly useful. The best-known health impacts are related to ambient air pollution, poor water quality and insufficient sanitation. More
- Key facts and messages
- Emissions of NOX, SOX, NH3 and NMVOC have decreased significantly in most countries between 1990 and 2012. However, air pollution still causes significant harm to health and the environment in Europe. more
- Europe has achieved major improvements in public health. However, an ageing population and the impacts of climate change, including new vector-borne diseases, may necessitate additional public health interventions and adjusted environmental policies. more
- The quality of Europe's drinking and bathing water have improved but air and noise pollution continue to cause serious health impacts. About 460 000 premature deaths were attributed to fine particulate matter in 2011. Further reductions in pressures... more
- The global burden from non-communicable disease now outweighs that from communicable disease. However, the threat of global pandemics continues, partly driven by increasing mobility. Around 25 % of the burden of disease and deaths is attributable... more
Substantial progress in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, air and other pollutants, and improving energy and material efficiency, needs to be complemented by more actions by EU Member States to fully apply agreed-to policies to better protect biodiversity, natural resources, and people’s health. These are the key findings of a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report which reviews key trends and outlook towards achieving EU 2020 environmental objectives.
Quality of Europe’s water for people’s use has improved, but challenges remain to keep it clean and healthyNews 30 Nov 2016
The quality of drinking water and bathing water, and the effectiveness of waste water treatment across the European Union continues to improve, according to a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report published today. However, pollution from sources like waste water treatment plants, agricultural runoff and storm water overflows, and emerging risks like micro pollutants from personal care products pose challenges to maintaining clean and healthy water for people’s use.
Chemicals which harm the ozone layer continue to be phased out in the European Union. In 2015, consumption of these chemicals reached its lowest level since 2006, partly due to a drop in imports according to a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Transport plays a critical role in the way we live. Our food, clothes and household waste all need to be transported, contributing to our economy and quality of life. But the increasing use of planes, cars and other fossil-fuel dependent modes of transport is causing more pollution, putting at risk our environment and health. The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) Signals 2016 explores how Europe’s carbon-dependent transport sector can be turned into a clean and smart mobility system.
Transport connects people, cultures, cities, countries and continents. It is one of the main pillars of the modern society and economy, allowing producers to sell their products across the world and travellers to discover new places. Transport networks also ensure access to key public services, such as education and health, contributing to a better quality of life. Connecting to transport helps boost the economy in remote areas, creating jobs and spreading wealth.
Air and noise pollution from transport cause a wide range of health problems, with road transport and diesel vehicles in particular the biggest contributors. The European Union and its Member States are taking a series of measures to reduce the impact of transport on health with some success. Innovative solutions and local action can improve the situation further.
Forests in Europe provide us essential services: clean air, clean water, natural carbon storage, timber, food and other products. They are home to many species and habitats. We talked about the challenges Europe’s forests face with Annemarie Bastrup-Birk, forest and environment expert at the European Environment Agency.
Climate change in Europe is already affecting public health, and will continue to do so in the future. How does it affect Europeans today? What does the future look like? We asked these questions to Bettina Menne from WHO Europe.
Society depends on the satisfactory and sustainable management of water. This report considers three pieces of EU water legislation targeted at particular sectors: the Bathing Water Directive, the Drinking Water Directive and the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, and looks at common issues in the context of the Water Framework Directive. A review of the implementation of each of the sectoral directives is provided.
This report presents an updated overview and analysis of air quality in Europe. It is focused on the air quality state in 2014 and the development from 2000 to 2014. It reviews progress towards meeting the requirements of the air quality directives. An overview of the latest findings and estimates of the trends in concentrations, the effects of air pollution on health and its impacts on ecosystems are also given.
Transport and environment in Europe
Noise pollution is a major problem for Europe’s environment. Transport and industry are the main sources of concern and prolonged exposure can damage human health and adversely affect ecosystems. European legislation aims to reduce noise pollution and also highlights the need to preserve areas that are currently unaffected. These so called quiet areas are an important component of the European soundscape and may offer havens away from noise pollution. This report sets out to identify where these potential quiet areas might be and offers an insight into how they could benefit the human and wildlife populations that inhabit or benefit from the rural European soundscape that is currently unaffected by noise pollution.