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Europe's Air Pollution Causes Around 467,000 Premature Deaths A Year, EEA Warns

First Posted: Nov 25, 2016 03:30 AM EST

The World Health Organization declared that the fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is harmful and triggers air pollution. This particulate matter in the atmosphere has caused about 467,000 premature deaths across Europe every year, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Particulate matter or PM are microscopic solid or liquid matter in the atmosphere of the Earth. The sources of these particulates could be man-made or natural. They can affect the climate and precipitation and can cause human health problems.

In Europe, the people living in urban areas are found to be at risk and have 85 percent exposure to fine particulate matter type known as PM2.5. This particulate has the adverse effect on human health and may cause asthma, heart disease and lung cancer.

BBC reports that within the European Union, there were over 430,000 people who died prematurely because of exposure to PM2.5 in 2013. Meanwhile, the EEA's Air Quality in Europe Report in 2016, the vehicles and the central heating boilers released poisonous gas nitrogen dioxide (NO2) that triggers around 71,000 premature death every year. Likewise, the ground-level ozone (O3) causes around 17,000 deaths yearly in the EU.

James Thornton, the CEO of law firm Client Earth, stated that the EEA report today puts the U.K. in an unwanted position near the top of the table when it comes to premature deaths from exposure to NO2 pollution. He further said that the U.K. government should be ashamed of these figures and must act now to protect the health of people in this country.

Among the European countries with the worst levels of PM2.5 are Poland, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. According to EEA, coal is the major source of electricity in Poland. Meanwhile, in Bulgaria, it was found to have a high particulate matter in 2013. The cost of ill-health from coal power plants in this country amounts to €4.6bn every year.

Catherine Bearder, a Liberal Democrat MEP, stated that if she had become a doctor instead of politician she would be advising a serious health warning to the U.K. government today. Meanwhile, Hans Bruyninckx, the EEA's executive director, said that the emission reductions have led to improvements in air quality in Europe, but not enough to avoid unacceptable damage to human health and an environment, as noted by The Guardian. 

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