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You are here: Home / Environmental topics / Environment and health / Highlights

Highlights

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Highlight Let's clean up Europe! — 06 May 2014
Volunteers across Europe will pick up litter on Saturday 10 May, as part of a coordinated EU Clean Up Day. The event is particularly timely, as there are growing concerns that rubbish polluting Europe's land and sea harms wildlife and may ultimately affect human health.
Highlight Finding Europe's quiet areas — 30 Apr 2014
At least 110 million people are adversely affected by noise from Europe’s busiest roads alone. People need to escape this pollution and access quiet places to work, relax and live a healthy life. Such ‘quiet areas’ should be protected under EU legislation, but how does this work in practice?
Highlight Very high air pollution levels across Western Europe — 14 Mar 2014
High pollutant levels currently experienced in parts of France, Belgium and Germany are leading some areas to take urgent action to lower air pollution – for example, public transport is free in Paris over the weekend as an incentive for people to avoid car use.
Highlight Summer ozone at harmful levels in 2013 — 13 Mar 2014
Ground-level ozone exceeded legal limits in every Member State and at many individual measurement sites during summer 2013, according to the European Environment Agency's annual report on this harmful pollutant. Although the number of exceedances is high, they have decreased over recent decades, the report notes.
Highlight A summary of the Year of Air – what we know about air pollution in 2013 — 30 Dec 2013
In 2013 Europe’s air was a central theme of work at the European Environment Agency (EEA), with several assessments looking at issues related to the gases, liquid droplets and solid particles polluting the atmosphere in many parts of Europe.
Highlight D source code Black carbon: Better monitoring needed to assess health and climate change impacts — 10 Dec 2013
Black carbon is an air pollutant which harms human health and can contribute to climate change – so cutting emissions may have many benefits. The European Environment Agency (EEA) has published a report on the measurement of black carbon in the air.
Press Release RealAudio broadcast Air pollution still harming health across Europe — 15 Oct 2013
Around 90 % of city dwellers in the European Union (EU) are exposed to one of the most damaging air pollutants at levels deemed harmful to health by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This result comes from the latest assessment of air quality in Europe, published by the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Highlight Hot summer weather exacerbating ozone pollution — 14 Aug 2013
Unusually high temperatures this summer may be contributing to poor air quality in many European cities. Thresholds to protect health from ground-level ozone have been exceeded across Europe in recent weeks, according to preliminary data reported to the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Highlight Europe’s environment now healthier – but new risks emerging — 02 Jul 2013
Europeans live longer and healthier lives than in the past, partly due to successful environmental policies that have reduced the exposure to harmful environmental contaminants in air, water and food, according to a new report. However, these contaminants are still a problem, and several new health risks are emerging, for example, from new chemicals, new products and changing lifestyle patterns.
Highlight EU meets most international air pollutant emissions limits, further cuts possible — 26 Jun 2013
Many air pollutant emissions are below internationally agreed limits, except nitrogen oxides, according to a European Environment Agency report released today. Emissions of three air pollutants, including fine particulate matter, are only slightly above targets to be met in 2020.
Highlight Putting clean air laws in to practice – report shows potential for improvement — 06 Jun 2013
Air-related legislation in the EU aims to protect human health and the environment from pollution. But this legislation is not always fully implemented. Bridging this gap is the subject of a new publication from the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Highlight World Environment Day: Why is the environment important? — 05 Jun 2013
On World Environment Day (5 June), the European Environment Agency's new Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx discusses the importance of the environment.
Highlight Octet Stream Is there a protected area near you? Find out on UN Biodiversity Day — 22 May 2013
Protected areas cover more than one fifth of the land in the 39 countries working with the European Environment Agency (EEA). On International Biodiversity Day, the EEA encourages Europeans to find out more about their closest nature reserve or national park using a new interactive map.
Highlight Every breath we take – Signals 2013 focuses on air quality in Europe — 15 Apr 2013
Poor air quality can have serious impacts on our health and the environment. How is Europe’s air quality? What are the main sources of air pollutants? How do they affect our health and the environment? What does Europe do to improve air quality? The new edition of the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) Signals takes a closer look.
Highlight chemical/x-gaussian-log Air pollution: breaches of legal limits continued through 2010 and 2011 — 18 Mar 2013
Air pollutant emissions were above legal limits in eight Member States in 2011, preliminary data shows. In 2010, 12 Member States exceeded these limits, according to final official data reported under the European Union’s National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive.
Highlight Invasive alien species: a growing problem for environment and health — 21 Feb 2013
Invasive alien species pose greater risks than previously thought for biodiversity, human health and economies, according to two new reports from the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Press Release The cost of ignoring the warning signs - EEA publishes ‘Late Lessons from Early Warnings, volume II’ — 22 Jan 2013
New technologies have sometimes had very harmful effects, but in many cases the early warning signs have been suppressed or ignored. The second volume of Late Lessons from Early Warnings investigates specific cases where danger signals have gone unheeded, in some cases leading to deaths, illness and environmental destruction.
Highlight Europe's air story told in pictures — 15 Nov 2012
Air is a tricky subject to photograph, but this challenge has proved to be a source of inspiration for the winners of photo storycompetition ‘ImaginAIR’, organised by the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Highlight Pascal source code Europe still playing catch-up on air pollution, despite reduction successes — 18 Oct 2012
The European Union appears to have met several objectives to reduce the impacts of air pollution, according to the original scientific understanding used to set the objectives. But when using the improved scientific understanding of air pollution now available, it becomes clear that emissions need to be even further reduced to protect health and the environment.
Press Release object code Many Europeans still exposed to harmful air pollutants — 24 Sep 2012
Almost a third of Europe's city dwellers are exposed to excessive concentrations of airborne particulate matter (PM), one of the most important pollutants in terms of harm to human health as it penetrates sensitive parts of the respiratory system. The EU has made progress over the past decades to reduce the air pollutants which cause acidification, but a new report published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shows that many parts of Europe have persistent problems with outdoor concentrations of PM and ground level ozone.
Highlight Capture the invisible for the EEA photo story competition — 18 Sep 2012
The air we breathe may not be the most photogenic subject, but depicting an odourless, colourless gas is the challenge set out by ImaginAIR, a new competition created by the European Environment Agency (EEA) which invites participants to tell a story about Europe's air in three pictures.
Highlight Avoiding harmful ozone pollution this summer — 09 Aug 2012
High summer temperatures combined with air pollution can cause ground-level ozone to form, which has serious effects on health, especially for older people or children, or those with asthma and other breathing problems. The European Environment Agency (EEA) presents some useful information on protecting your health from ground-level ozone this summer.
Highlight Eleven Member States exceed air emissions limits under LRTAP Convention — 30 Jul 2012
Emissions of most air pollutants have fallen over the last two decades in Europe. But many Member States have exceeded internationally-agreed pollutant limits set to protect human health and the environment, according to a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA). Road transport, households, power plants, agricultural activities and certain industry sectors continue to emit significant amounts of air pollution.
Highlight D source code Sahara dust, sea spray and fires contribute to bad air quality — 11 Jul 2012
Human activities are the main cause of poor air quality, but natural sources of air pollution also play a role. A new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) considers how particulate matter from these natural sources affects the air we breathe.
Highlight Octet Stream Nitrogen oxide emissions still a major problem in Europe — 28 Jun 2012
Air pollution emitted from sources such as traffic, industry and households is still above internationally agreed limits in many European countries, according to data published today. The accompanying report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) confirms an initial assessment published earlier this year, showing 12 EU Member States exceeded limits under the National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive in 2010.
Press Release Clean water at majority of EU holiday destinations — 23 May 2012
Good news if you're planning a beach holiday in Europe this summer: 92.1 % of bathing waters in the European Union now meet the minimum water quality standards set by the Bathing Water Directive. This includes the Serpentine Lake in London, which will host several Olympics events, including the Open Water Marathon Swim and the swimming section of the triathlon.
Press Release Increase in cancers and fertility problems may be caused by household chemicals and pharmaceuticals — 10 May 2012
Chemicals which disrupt the hormone system – also known as 'endocrine disrupting chemicals' (EDCs) – may be a contributing factor behind the significant increases in cancers, diabetes and obesity, falling fertility, and an increased number of neurological development problems in both humans and animals, according to a review of recent scientific literature commissioned by the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Highlight What money can't buy - UN discusses happiness as a measure of progress — 04 Apr 2012
The world needs to move away from measuring success in purely economic terms, and should instead consider other criteria, including distribution of resources, sustainability, health, human rights and education. These were the discussions in a landmark meeting of the United Nations (UN), calling for new measurements of wellbeing beyond GDP in the run up to the Rio sustainability summit in June.
Highlight More effort needed to reduce summer ozone — 19 Mar 2012
Ground level ozone causes health problems, decreases crop yields and damages the environment. Ozone levels exceeding certain targets in Europe were less frequent in summer 2011 than in any year since monitoring started in 1997. However, the long-term objective was exceeded in all EU Member States and it is likely many of them will not meet the target value, applicable as of 2010.
Highlight D source code Air pollutant emission limits exceeded in twelve EU Member States — 22 Feb 2012
Twelve Member States exceeded one or more of the emission limits set by the EU National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive, according to recent official data for 2010 reported to the European Environment Agency (EEA). In some instances the limits were exceeded by significant amounts.
Highlight Greenland’s Health Ministry signs cooperation agreement with EEA — 13 Jan 2012
The Ministry of Health in Greenland has signed an agreement with the European Environment Agency (EEA). The two organisations committed to exchange personnel, and share knowledge, data and other expertise on environment-related health issues.
Press Release New Eye on Earth global mapping and information service now live — 13 Dec 2011
A new global web service allowing users to create maps and visualise data on environmental issues is now live. The new Eye on Earth global public information service brings together vast amounts of data about the environment in a powerful, visual format.
Press Release Industrial air pollution cost Europe up to €169 billion in 2009, EEA reveals — 24 Nov 2011
Air pollution from the 10,000 largest polluting facilities in Europe cost citizens between € 102 and 169 billion in 2009. This was one of the findings of a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) which analysed the costs of harm to health and the environment caused by air pollution. Half of the total damage cost (between € 51 and 85 billion) was caused by just 191 facilities.
Highlight Ozone and particulates most serious air quality problems in Europe — 09 Nov 2011
Air quality in Europe has improved between 1990 and 2009, as emissions of most pollutants have fallen, according to a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA). But there is still a lot of room for improvement, as many EU countries are expected to exceed the emissions ceilings in 2010 for at least one pollutant. In addition, concentration levels of ground-level ozone and particulate matter have remained stable over recent years despite efforts to improve air quality.
Highlight chemical/x-pdb New film on waste management in Greenland — 13 Oct 2011
Dealing with large quantities of unwanted (and sometimes toxic) waste is often difficult – but it becomes even more complicated when people live in isolated communities, in extreme environments hundreds of kilometres from the nearest treatment plant. This is the subject of a new film considering waste management in Greenland, entitled ‘Mission Greenland – for a cleaner future’.
Highlight Health risks from mobile phone radiation – why the experts disagree — 12 Oct 2011
Mobile phones and other digital devices are now a big part of modern life – but are they dangerous? There were an estimated 5.3 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide by the end of 2010, so if mobile phone use is linked to head cancers, the implications are immense. We look at the scientific uncertainty in this area, and what this means for policy.
Highlight Using models for air quality assessment and planning: a guide — 26 Sep 2011
Computer models are increasingly used for estimating air quality or forecasting changes in pollution levels. Various different models are currently used across Europe. The new FAIRMODE reference guide aims to make these models comparable, well documented and validated in order to achieve reliable results.
Highlight Troff document Recession contributes to air pollutant emissions decrease in 2009 — 27 Jul 2011
Emissions of almost all main air pollutants fell across the EU-27 in 2009, according to the latest annual European Union air pollutant emission inventory report compiled by the European Environment Agency (EEA). Some pollutants decreased significantly compared to the previous year, with analysis showing economic recession to be an important factor in this reduction. The drop was most evident for sulphur oxides (SOx), with emissions falling by 21 % between 2008 and 2009.
Press Release C source code header Bathing water quality remains high around the EU — 16 Jun 2011
The quality of bathing water across Europe declined slightly between 2009 and 2010, but the overall quality was still high. More than nine out of 10 bathing water sites now meet the minimum requirements.
Press Release New maps give Europeans close-up picture of air pollution from diffuse sources — 26 May 2011
New online maps published today by the European Commission and the European Environment Agency, in close cooperation with the Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) of the Joint Research Centre, allow citizens to pinpoint the main diffuse sources of air pollution, such as transport and aviation. The new set of 32 maps shows where certain pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter are released. It complements existing data on emissions from individual industrial plants from the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR). The Europe-wide register aims to help Europeans actively engage in decisions affecting the environment.
Highlight Nuclear accident in Japan: where to get up-to-date information — 15 Apr 2011
Following the massive earthquake and tsunami of 11 March 2011, a number of explosions and fires took place at the reactor buildings of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Japan declared a state of alert and reported leaks of radioactive material. Given the magnitude and the global dimension of the disaster, Japanese authorities and the international community are following the situation very closely. A series of sources provide the public with up-to-date information on the accident's possible impacts on Europe's environment as well as radiation measurements across Europe.
Highlight Volcanic ash is having little impact on Europe's air quality — 23 Apr 2010
The European Environment Agency (EEA) is closely following the impacts of recent volcanic eruptions in Iceland, in particular assessing changes in ground-level air pollution. According to preliminary monitoring data, ground-level air quality across Europe has not deteriorated significantly as a result of the volcanic activity.
Highlight text/texmacs EU set to miss 2010 air pollutant limits — 01 Oct 2009
With 2010 now quickly approaching, updated emission estimates for that year show just 14 Member States expect to meet their respective 2010 air pollutant limits set under the EU National Emission Ceilings Directive (NEC Directive). A small group of Member States anticipates missing two or more of their legally-binding emission ceilings.
Highlight Troff document Best way to get around: bicycle, car or on foot? — 16 Sep 2009
Every day, millions of Europeans make short trips to work, school or the shops. Their choice of how to reach their destination has a significant impact on the environment. During European Mobility Week from 16 to 22 September 2009, Europe will focus on sustainable mobility in urban areas. The European Environment Agency has tips to help you make your daily trips more environmentally friendly.
Highlight Emissions of air pollutants down in EU-27 — 21 Aug 2009
The European Community's air pollutant emission inventory report released by the European Environment Agency finds that in 2007, sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions were down by 72 % from 1990 levels. The downward emission trend of three main pollutants which cause ground-level ozone continued in 2007: carbon monoxide (CO) fell by 57 %, non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) were down by 47 % and nitrogen oxides (NOx) have dropped 36 %. EU-27 emissions of all four pollutants were lower in 2007 than in 2006.
Highlight Ozone pollution is declining — but not everywhere — 20 Jul 2009
Ground-level ozone is among the most harmful air pollutants in Europe today. Elevated ozone levels cause health problems, premature deaths, reduced agricultural crop yields, damage to plants in semi-natural ecosystems and corrosion of physical infrastructure and cultural heritage.
Highlight How clean is Europe's air? — 24 Mar 2009
Particulate matter and ground-level ozone remain important air pollutants in Europe. Despite improvements due to EU legislation, they continue to have a heavy toll on human health especially in southern and eastern Europe. Two reports released today by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shed light on Europe’s air quality.
Highlight Europe’s first Green Capitals: Stockholm and Hamburg — 24 Feb 2009
Stockholm and Hamburg have been named as the European Green Capitals for 2010 and 2011, respectively, in recognition of their consistent records of high environmental standards and strong commitment to further improvement. The European Environment Agency took part in the evaluation panel and the final jury.
Highlight Troff document EU to exceed air pollutant limit due to growth in road transport — 01 Dec 2008
Despite significant emission reductions in recent years, only 11 EU Member States expect to remain within their emission limits for all four air pollutants set by the EU National Emission Ceilings Directive (NEC Directive). The nitrogen oxides ceiling remains the most difficult to comply with. This is partly due to the fact that demand for road transport has grown faster than anticipated.
Highlight Transport remains main source of health-damaging pollutants — 28 Jul 2008
A report launched today by the European Environment Agency shows that road transport remains the single main source of nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO) and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), and the second-most important source of fine particulate emissions (PM10 and PM2.5) in the EU-27. This report contains essential data that helps understand the evolution of air pollutant emissions since 1990.
Highlight text/texmacs More EU Member States to miss 2010 air pollutant limits — 19 May 2008
A preliminary analysis of data reported under the EU National Emission Ceilings Directive (NEC Directive) by Member States at the end of 2007 indicates that more countries anticipate missing one or more of their legally-binding 2010 emission ceilings compared to last year.
Highlight Ozone levels last summer lowest in a decade — 30 Apr 2008
High concentrations of ozone in Europe were lower during the summer of 2007 than any other year in the past decade, according to the latest data unveiled by the European Environment Agency's technical report 'Air pollution by ozone across Europe during summer 2007'. In contrast to the same season in 2006, the threshold of 180 µg/m3 was not exceeded in northern Europe.
Highlight Getting an instant, sharper picture of Europe's air pollution — 07 Feb 2008
The EEA has concluded an agreement with a consortium led by the European Space Agency to provide improved information on air pollution.
Highlight Concentrations of air pollutants constant despite drop in emissions — 13 Nov 2007
Concentrations of ozone and particulate matter, two harmful airborne pollutants, have not improved since 1997 despite substantial cuts in emissions of air pollutants across Europe, says a new EEA report, released today.
Highlight D source code Radiation risk from everyday devices assessed — 17 Sep 2007
A new report raising concerns about the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) on human health calls for tougher safety standards to regulate radiation from mobile phones, power lines and many other sources of exposure in daily life. The report, 'Bioinitiative: A Rationale for a Biologically-Based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields' was compiled by the BioInitiative Working Group, an international group of scientists, researchers and public health policy professionals. The EEA has contributed to this new report with a chapter drawn from the EEA study 'Late lessons from early warnings: the precautionary principle 1896–2000' published in 2001.
Highlight Find out the level of ozone pollution in Europe — 18 Jul 2006
Ozone Web, a new internet tool, released by the EEA today, offers users the opportunity to monitor and track ground level ozone incidents on a pan-European scale, for the first time.

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