Air quality in Europe 2022 — European Environment Agency | Popgen Tech

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The ‘Air Quality in Europe’ report series of the European Environment Agency (EEA) provides annual assessments of air pollutant emissions and concentrations in ambient air across Europe, as well as associated impacts on health and the environment. The annual assessments are mainly based on official data reported by European countries to the EEA.

Chapters of the Air quality in Europe 2022 report:

In 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) published new air quality guidelines following a systematic review of the latest scientific evidence showing how air pollution damages human health. The European Union (EU) has also set standards for key air pollutants in the air quality guidelines. In the European Green Deal, the European Commission committed to further improve air quality and to align EU air quality standards more closely with WHO recommendations. This commitment was reflected in the Zero Pollution Action Plan, which set a vision for 2050 to reduce air, water and soil pollution to levels no longer considered harmful to health and natural ecosystems. In addition, the Zero Pollution Action Plan has set targets for 2030, two of which focus on air and aim to:

  • reduce the health impacts of air pollution (premature deaths) by more than 55%, compared to 2005;
  • reduce the share of EU ecosystems where air pollution threatens biodiversity by 25%, compared to 2005.

Stricter air quality standards will also contribute to the goals of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. Air pollution is a known cause of cancer in Europe; especially lung cancer (EEA, 2022).

European Commission proposes new rules for cleaner air

In October 2022, the European Commission published a proposal for a revision of the Ambient Air Quality Directive. Key measures are listed below.

  • Tighter thresholds for pollution, more closely aligned with new limits set by the World Health Organization.
  • Improving the right to clean air, improving access to justice.
  • Current legislation does not include provisions for citizens to claim compensation for health damage due to air pollution. The new rules will bring more effective penalties and compensation possibilities for violating air quality rules.
  • Strengthened air quality monitoring rules to support preventive action and targeted measures.
  • Requirements to improve air quality modelling, especially if and where air quality is poor.
  • Better public information.

This report analyzes the status of concentrations of pollutants in ambient air in 2020 and 2021 – presented by pollutant and related to both EU air quality standards and the 2021 WHO guideline levels. It presents the health impacts of exposure to key air pollutants, both in terms of mortality (for 2020) and morbidity (for 2019), and assesses progress towards the health-related goals of the EU’s Zero Pollution Action Plan. The impact of air pollution on ecosystems is also considered. It includes an assessment of progress towards the zero pollution action plan target to reduce the share of ecosystems damaged by air pollution, as well as an overview of the impact of ozone on agricultural production. Finally, it presents the status of emissions of key air pollutants regulated in the EU, and assesses emission trends over the period 2005 to 2020.

Identifiers

Report no. 05/2022
Title: Air quality in Europe 2022
HTML – TH-AL-22-011-EN-Q – ISBN 978-92-9480-515-7 – ISSN 1977-8449 – do: 10.2800/488115

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