Air pollution causes nearly half a million premature deaths each year in the European Union. In busy cities, air quality is usually at its worst, with high concentrations of particulate matter (PM), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone. The average life expectancy of people living in the EU’s most polluted areas is reduced by over two years as a consequence of this. Health impacts include heart disease, respiratory problems and cancer.
In Europe, the ambient air quality directive (2008/50/EC) demands that local authorities comply with short term and annual limit values for air pollution. Yet, urban populations continue being exposed to PM levels exceeding the guidelines.
Many concerned citizens do not feel sufficiently informed about air quality issues in their country. They have a right to know: where and when are they exposed to dangerous air pollution?
More and more cities across Europe are taking steps to provide transparent and timely air quality information and to reduce emissions. Where official sensors are still few and far between, we can take action with a community-driven approach:
Together, we can improve the air quality data available – so that cleaner air becomes possible for all.