Air Pollution Killed 238,000 Europeans Prematurely In 2020
Fine particle air pollution led to 238,000 premature deaths in the European Union in 2020, the bloc's environmental watchdog said, a slight rise from the previous year, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
Photo Insert: The figure was slightly more than those recorded in 2019 in the EU, despite a fall in emissions due to COVID curbs.
At the same time, the overall rate for EU countries in 2020 was 45 percent lower than in 2005, the agency said, noting that "if this rate of decline is maintained, the EU will reach [its] zero pollution action plan target before 2030."
Across the 27-nation bloc that year, "exposure to concentrations of fine particulate matter above the 2021 World Health Organization guideline level resulted in 238,000 premature deaths," the European Environment Agency said in a new report.
That was slightly more than those recorded in 2019 in the EU, despite a fall in emissions due to COVID curbs. Fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, is a term for fine particulates that are typically the by-product of car exhausts or coal-fired power plants.
Their tiny size enables them to travel deep into the respiratory tract, worsening the risk of bronchitis, asthma, and lung disease.