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Environment and health

Safeguarding citizens from environment-related pressures and risks to health is a priority at EU level

Environmental quality across Europe has been steadily improving over recent decades. Nonetheless, environmental health hazards continue to affect European citizens. Air pollution and noise cause diseases and shorten lives. Heatwaves across Europe in recent years have resulted in thousands of fatalities, and cold spells bring on poor health and excess deaths. The burden of environmental disease is unequally distributed across European society.

The NOISE Observation & Information Service for Europe

Noise pollution is a major environmental concern in Europe. Explore NOISE maps to see environmental noise from roads, railways, airports, industry and in cities where you live.

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See also noise fact sheets

A vast majority of the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) 39 member and cooperating countries are putting in action United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those focused on climate action, water and sanitation, and affordable and clean energy, according to a pan-European assessment, published today, of how the SDGs are being implemented.

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: 16 Dec 2020

This briefing assesses the health risks due to exposure to environmental noise in Europe using three indicators to measure, monitor and communicate the impacts of noise pollution on health: (1) exposure to noise above recommended levels established by the World Health Organization; (2) number of people suffering health effects from exposure to noise; (3) burden of disease from noise. The indicators are derived from data submitted to the EEA under the EU Environmental Noise Directive and will be used to inform the development of future targets to reduce the health impacts of noise.

Published: 24 Nov 2020

A technology with uncertain potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from e-commerce and the logistics industry and concerns over increased noise pollution and threats to wildlife.

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