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Improved air quality, but still far from the target

Foto: Sonja Grossberndt

European air quality shows small signs of improvements over the last two decades, but some pollution concentrations are still a threat to human health. This is the conclusion of a new report about European air quality, published by the European Parliament in November 2011.

Cristina Guerreiro
Cristina Guerreiro, NILU Photo: Ingar Næss

’Air quality in Europe – 2011 report’ provides updated data on European air quality from the last twenty years. It shows that air quality has been improved between 1990 and 2009, due to a reduced exposure of most pollutants, especially sulfur dioxide and lead.

’Europe’s air quality is generally getting better, but concentrations of some pollutants are still endangering people’s health’, says Jacqueline McGlade, director of the European Environment Agency (EEA).

– ’Unfortunately Europe has still not achieved several of its air quality goals’, says Cristina Guerreiro from NILU.

‘Especially the concentrations of ground level ozone and particulate matter have been stable during the last years, despite all efforts to reduce emissions and improve air quality. Exceedings of limit values of NOX – nitrogen dioxide – have occurred in many European cities, including Oslo and Bergen’, points Guerreiro out.

Together with Steinar Larssen from NILU and scientists from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) Guerreiro has worked out the report commissioned by EEA.

’Air quality in Europe – 2011 report’ was delivered to the European Parliament in November and is the first of a new series of EEA reports on the status and development of air quality in Europe.

The report was prepared as part of the work at the European Topic Center for Air Quality and Climate Mitigation (ETC/ACM) and sums up the latest evaluations of status and development in air quality in Europe within the last years. An overview of policies and measures to improve air quality on European level is also included.

Read the report:
Air quality in Europe — 2011 report (http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/air-quality-in-europe-2011).