The Swedish city of Umeå, Tampere in Finland and Funchal in Portugal have the cleanest air in Europe, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA). The cities with the most polluted air are Novi Sonc in Poland, Cremona in Italy and Slavonski Brod in Croatia.

Residents of more than half of the 323 cities where air quality was measured during 2019 and 2020 breathe polluted air, and most of them are located in Poland and Italy.

There are 127 cities with good air quality, which means that the level of fine dust particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) is below the limit value of 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air, established by the World Health Organization.

In the first 10 cities, with a concentration of PM2.5 below five micrograms per cubic meter, there are two more cities in Sweden – Stockholm and Uppsala, three cities in Estonia – Tallinn, Narva and Tartu, as well as Norwegian Bergen and Spanish Salamanca.

The European Union has set 25 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter as an annual limit value. All cities that have a higher level of PM2.5 than that are classified in the category of cities with very poor air quality.

There are five cities in this category in Poland, Croatia and Italy.

The EEA ranked cities from the cleanest to the most polluted based on an average level of PM2.5 over the past two calendar years.

PM2.5 particles are the most dangerous to human health because they are very small and light, so they can reach deep into the lungs and even into the bloodstream, causing premature death from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

Although there has been a significant improvement in air quality in Europe over the last 10 years, air pollution in many cities across Europe is still “persistently high”, said EEA Executive Director Hans Broynninks. The latest EEA estimate shows that exposure to fine particulate matter in 2018 was the cause of about 417,000 premature deaths in 41 European countries.

Broynnicks said the new EEA air quality survey launched by the EEA last week allows citizens to see for themselves what the situation is in their cities compared to other parts of Europe.

“It provides concrete and local information that can empower citizens to ask their local authorities to address the problem. That will help all of us to achieve the goal of zero pollution in the EU “, said Brojninks.

E2 portal (Euractiv)

Source: E2 Portal by

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