Air pollution caused 238,000 premature deaths in EU in 2020

If the increase is light compared to the previous year, the European Environment Agency nevertheless estimates that the European Union is on the right track to achieve its objective of reducing more than 50 % of premature deaths In 2030 compared to 2005.

MO12345lemonde with AFP

Air pollution remains the most important environmental threat to the health of Europeans. in his new report Published Thursday, November 24 , the European Environment Agency (AEE) estimates that “exposure to concentrations of fine particles superior to the recommendations of the World Health Organization resulted in 238,000 premature deaths” through the European Union (EU).

It is slightly increased compared to 2019, the year when fine particles, which penetrate deep into the lungs, had caused the premature death of some 231,000 people. This increase is explained in particular by the fact that the COVVI-19 has touched people presenting comorbidities related to air pollution (cancers, pulmonary diseases or diabetes type 2). -format = “inread_top” aria-hidden = “true”>

Furthermore, “if we compare 2020 to 2019, the number of premature deaths attributable to air pollution increased for [fine particles] PM2.5 but decreased for [nitrogen dioxide] No2 and [Ozone] O3 “, details the AEE in its study. 2>

nearly a million dead in the early 1990s

According to the AEE, 96 % of the UE urban population was exposed in 2020 to fine particle concentrations (PM2.5) higher at the level recommended by WHO of 5 micrograms per cubic meter of air .

For ozone particles (O3), notably from road traffic and industrial activities, the trend in 2020 was down with more than 24,000 dead, a decline of 3 % over one year. For nitrogen dioxide (NO2), gas produced mainly by vehicles and thermal power plants, more than 49,000 premature deaths have been recorded, a drop of 22 % which is partially explained by the decrease in road traffic during the pandemia of COVID-19.

The agency, based in Copenhagen, does not add up the balance sheets because it would lead to her to double counts.

This annelle overall increase with the constant decline estimated in recent years: between 2005 and 2020, the drop in premature deaths due to air pollution is 45 %. According to its annual report, the AEE estimates that the EU is on the right track to achieve its objective of reducing more than 50 % of the premature deaths in 2030 compared to 2005. In the early 1990s, fine particles caused nearly a million premature deaths in the 27 EU countries. In 2005, 431,000 people would still die.

/Media reports cited above.