Although the number of premature deaths due to air pollution in Europe has decreased by 10 percent per year, this silent killer is still taking many lives. According to a report released by the European Environment Agency (EEA) on Monday on the number of deaths due to air pollution in 2019, the presence of particulate matter (PM2.5) in the air has caused the death of 3 lakh 6 thousand people in a year.
According to AFP, particulate matter or PM2.5 is the smallest particulate matter floating in the air. These enter the lungs with the breath and push people towards premature death. Without it, if the presence of these particles increases, the air becomes smoky and visibility decreases. About one million people died prematurely due to the excessive presence of these pollutants in the air in the early nineties. However, in 2005 that number dropped by more than half to four and a half million.
According to the European Union’s data center, 347,000 people died in 2016 due to airborne particulate matter. However, due to the improvement in air quality, the number of deaths due to air pollution has been reduced in the following year (2019). According to the EEA report, if the European Union countries had complied with the new guidelines of the World Health Organization, the death toll could have been halved in 2019. The guidelines were issued by the World Health Organization, which sets the standard for measuring air quality.
According to the report, 53,600 people died in Germany in 2019 due to the presence of particulate matter in the air. The same year, 49,900 people died in Italy, 29,600 in France and 23,300 in Spain. In 2019, 39,300 people died in Poland. Poland has the highest death toll in 2019 due to air pollution compared to the total population.
The number of deaths due to air pollution caused by the presence of nitrogen dioxide gas has decreased in one year. Between 2016 and 2019, the number of related deaths dropped by a quarter to 40,000. This nitrogen dioxide is mainly emitted from cars, trucks and thermal power plants. The number of deaths due to air pollution near the surface ozone layer has also decreased in 2019. Compared to the previous year, the number of deaths has decreased by 13 percent to 16,600.
The EEA report states that air pollution poses the greatest risk to human health in Europe. Most of the untimely deaths due to pollution are due to heart disease and brain hemorrhage. It is followed by various lung related diseases including cancer. Atmospheric pollution can interfere with the formation of lungs in children. This can lead to respiratory infections in children and asthma.
In September, the EEA warned that although the situation had improved, pollution levels in most European countries were still above acceptable levels set by European guidelines or the World Health Organization. After receiving a warning in September, the World Health Organization was forced to tighten its grip on acceptable levels for major polluting countries. The new policy on air quality measurement standards reduces the acceptable levels of the three main components of air pollution.
According to the World Health Organization, 6 million people die prematurely every year due to air pollution. In other words, the same number of people die in the world due to smoking and malnutrition. This is the first such incident since 2005.
The European Union wants to reduce the number of deaths due to air pollution by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 2005. EEA says that if air pollution is reduced at the current rate, it will be possible to reach that goal by 2032.
However, the EEA report warns that the situation could be complicated by increasing urbanization. It is said that the effects of air pollution are greatest on older people. Apart from that, many more people are now moving to the city. This means that more and more people are exposed to PM2.5 pollutants. This is because the presence of these pollutant particles is most seen in the city air.