Air pollution caused 428,000 premature deaths in Europe in 2014, according to data from a recent study by the European Environment Agency (EEA). Thanks to the proposed policies and technological advances in reducing emissions, the study observes a slight improvement in European streets – the previous study put deaths due to this risk at 467,000 – but poor air quality remains the leading environmental cause of premature deaths in Europe.

In the 28 countries of the European Union, 399,000 premature deaths were calculated due to the presence of fine particles in the air, 23,180 of which correspond to the Spanish State. Not only suspended particles are a source of concern, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and tropospheric ozone (03) caused around 78,000 and 14,400 respectively. The main pollutants were road transport, agriculture, power plants, industry and housing. In addition to reducing the life expectancy of citizens and contributing to cancer and heart and respiratory diseases, poor air quality increases medical costs, reduces labor productivity, and damages the soil, crops, forests, and rivers, therefore that the economic impact is evident.

According to EEA President Hans Bruyninckx, “as a society, we should not accept the cost of air pollution”, and “it is encouraging to see that many European governments, and especially cities, have taken the initiative to protect the health of their inhabitants by improving air quality”.