Air quality in Europe

06 November 2018

Article: 52/4404

On 29 October 2018, the European Environment Agency (EEA) published ‘Air quality in Europe – 2018’, an updated overview and analysis of air quality in Europe from 2000 to 2016. The report is based on the latest verified air quality data from 41 countries across Europe. It includes figures about the number of people living in places where European Union (EU), and consequently World Health Organisation (WHO), air quality standards are being breached.

Key findings of the report include:

  • the percentage of the EU-28 urban population exposed to particulate matter (PM2.5) stood at 6% in 2016, down from 7% the year before. However, approximately 74% of the EU urban population were exposed to concentrations exceeding the stricter WHO guidelines;
  • the annual limit value for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) continues to be widely exceeded across Europe. In 2016, 7% of the EU-28 urban population lived in areas with concentrations above the annual EU limit value and the WHO guidelines. This is down from 9% in 2015;
  • about 12% of the EU-28 urban population were exposed to ground-level ozone (O3) levels above the EU’s target value in 2016, which is a considerable decrease from 2015 (30%). However, the percentage is still higher than the 7% recorded in 2014. Around 98% were exposed to levels exceeding the WHO guidelines.

The report concludes that 95-98% of people living in European cities are exposed to levels of ozone above the levels set in guidelines issued by the WHO.

The report is available on the European Environment Agency (EEA) website

Source: EEA, 29 October 2018