Environment: Poor air quality harms children and young people in Europe

The air pollution that is still too high in large parts of Europe also endangers children and young people.

Environment: Poor air quality harms children and young people in Europe

The air pollution that is still too high in large parts of Europe also endangers children and young people. The European Environment Agency (EEA) drew attention to this in a report published on Monday. Air pollution causes an estimated more than 1,200 premature deaths among children in Europe every year and increases the risk of developing diseases later in life.

The Copenhagen-based EU authority said that more had to be done to protect children's health from the effects of air pollution. The most important thing is to reduce air pollution at the source - i.e. in traffic, in industry and in heating - said EEA expert Gerardo Sanchez. A good measure is also to improve the air quality around schools and kindergartens, for example through more green spaces.

Despite improvements in recent years, exposure to the most important pollutants in many European countries is still stubbornly above the limits recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), the EEA wrote in another report. There are often problems, especially in the cities. In the analyzed year 2021, more than 90 percent of the urban population in the EU countries had to live with levels of particulate matter (PM2.5), ozone (O3) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) that were above the WHO recommendations.

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