Air pollution and diesel emissions
Poor air quality is a pan-European concern. The majority of European Union countries continue to have difficulties in achieving compliance with limits for particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The study from the World Health Organization (WHO) links long-term exposure to very fine particles (PM2.5) with cardiovascular and respiratory deaths, as well as an increase in conditions, such as childhood respiratory diseases. According to European Environmental Agency (EEA), more than 80% of the EU's urban population is exposed to PM levels above 2005 WHO Air Quality Guidelines. More than 40% of emissions of nitrogen oxides come from road transport and almost 40% of primary PM2.5 emissions come from transport. (EEA publication: Europe´s air today, July 2013)
Clean air was the focus of EU environmental policy discussions in 2013, the Year of Air. The EU should act now to ensure that air quality will remain high on their agenda into the future.