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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.

In 2018, the European Union met all air pollution limit ceilings set for total emissions of the four key pollutants monitored under EU rules. Emissions of ammonia levelled off after five years of increases, according to updated data released by the European Environment Agency (EEA) today.

The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) data confirm large decreases in air pollutant concentrations — of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations in particular — largely due to reduced traffic and other activities, especially in major cities under lockdown measures. Reductions of around half have been seen in some locations. The EEA’s data are measured hourly, on the ground, at about 3,000 monitoring stations across European countries.

Air pollution is the biggest environmental health threat in Europe and more and more people are taking action to claim their right to clean air. A new European Environment Agency (EEA) report provides an overview of low-cost devices that citizens and NGOs can use to measure local air quality.

Published: 30 Jun 2020

This briefing presents progress made by the EU and its Member States1 towards meeting the 2010 emission ceilings that were applicable until the end of 2019 under Directive 2016/2284/EU — the National Emission reduction Commitments (NEC) Directive — on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants. In addition, it assesses the emission reduction effort — compared with 2018 emissions levels — required by each country to comply with the 2020 and 2030 reduction commitments set out in the Directive.

Published: 12 Mar 2020

People’s awareness of air pollution and the associated risks to their health and that of their children has grown significantly over recent years, often informed by local or national campaigns led by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as well as by media coverage. In some countries, groups of concerned citizens, often supported by NGOs, have taken authorities to court over air quality issues, and the courts have ruled in favour of the right to clean air in several instances.

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