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Air pollution

Air pollution is the biggest environmental health risk in Europe

Air pollution is hard to escape, no matter where you live. It can seriously affect your health and the environment. Even though air quality in Europe has improved over recent decades, the levels of air pollutants still exceed EU standards and the most stringent World Health Organization guidelines.

European Air Quality Index

How clean is the air you’re breathing right now? How does the air in your city compare with that of a neighbouring city or region? Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk in Europe. The European Environment Agency's European Air Quality Index allows users to understand more about air quality where they live. Displaying up-to-the-minute data for the whole of Europe, users can gain new insights into the air quality of individual countries, regions and cities.

Data sources:

National Emission Ceilings Directive emissions data viewer 1990-2018

This data viewer provides access to the latest air pollutant emission inventory reported to EEA by EU Member States under the National Emission reduction Commitments (NEC) Directive.

Demand for and use of climate-warming fluorinated gases continues to drop across the European Union, according to the latest annual update of EU progress in phasing down the use of F-gases, published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA). Industry is substituting these F-gases with more climate-friendly products.

Better air quality has led to a significant reduction of premature deaths over the past decade in Europe. However, the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) latest official data show that almost all Europeans still suffer from air pollution, leading to about 400,000 premature deaths across the continent.

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions imposed to fight the spread of the disease have provided some short-term positive impacts on Europe’s environment, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing published today. These include temporary improvements in air quality, lower greenhouse gas emissions and lower levels of noise pollution. However, the assessment also stresses that there have been negative consequences such as increased use of single-use plastics, and that ways out of the pandemic should focus on reshaping our unsustainable production and consumption systems to achieve long-term environmental benefits.

Published: 23 Nov 2020

The Air quality in Europe report provides an annual assessment of the status and impacts of air quality and recent air quality trends. The report supports policy development and implementation in the field of air quality at both European and national levels.

Published: 10 Nov 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on people’s lives worldwide. This briefing focuses on what we know about the short-term effects of COVID-19 on our environment, approximately six months after large parts of the world went into some degree of lockdown. It considers what can be learnt from these effects and how they might help shape decision-making in the future.

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