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The European Environment Agency (EEA) found that a majority of EU countries broke at least one air pollution limit last year — despite COVID-19 lockdowns. In addition, 17 EU countries failed to stay below ozone pollution targets, which directly influence global warming; and eight EU countries failed to stay below limits for nitrogen dioxide pollution — an improvement from 18 countries in 2019.
Why this Matters: Air quality is Europe’s biggest environmental health risk, and 10 EU countries have been prosecuted for over-polluting the air. Nitrogen dioxide pollution from car exhaust can induce asthma and lung problems, while particulate matter from burning coal can cause lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. These health risks particularly affect low-income communities, who are exposed disproportionately to these pollutants. In 2018, 379,000 people died prematurely in the EU as a result of excessive particulate matter.
While COVID-19 lockdowns helped lessen both nitrogen dioxide and particulate pollution, too many EU countries have still blown past their legal air pollution limits.
“One of the big lessons we have learned from the COVID crisis is the close connection between human health and the health of the planet. At the moment, neither is doing well,” EU Environment Commissioner Virginius Sinkevicius told Reuters.
Delegates attending the COP26 conference in Glasgow will get to see a very cool display during their stay. So cool, in fact, that it’s been frozen since 1765. Artist Wayne Binitie and scientists of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have retrieved an Antarctic time capsule containing the world’s purest air. The pocket of atmosphere was […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer An Indonesian district court ruled yesterday that Indonesian President Joko Widodo has neglected Jakarta’s residents right to clean air. In a unanimous ruling in favor of the 32 residents who brought the case, the Central Jakarta District Court ordered Widodo, and six other top officials deemed negligent, to improve […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Decreasing air pollution increases people’s life expectancy by an average of 2.2 years, according to a new study. Researchers from the University of Chicago found that by bringing pollution across the globe down to the World Health Organization’s guidelines, a collective 17 billion years could be added to the planet’s population’s […]
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