(CTN News) – The Guardian cites recent studies that estimate the number of deaths in the European Union at over half a million in 2021 due to air pollution.
According to the European Environment Agency’s assessment, half of the fatalities may have been prevented if pollution had been reduced to prescribed limits.
The quantities of small particles, or PM2.5, allegedly caused 253,000 premature deaths, above the maximum guideline limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO) of 5µg/m3.
According to the study, 52,000 individuals died as a result of nitrogen dioxide poisoning, and 22,000 people died as a result of ozone poisoning in very short periods of time.
According to EU environment commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius, who spoke to the news source, the data issued today by the EEA serves as a reminder that air pollution remains the top environmental health concern in the EU.
Medical professionals have stressed that air pollution is a major contributor to death rates worldwide. Nevertheless, if countries make cleaning up their economy a priority, the mortality tolls might drop dramatically.
There was a 41% drop in PM2.5-related fatalities in the EU from 2005 to 2021, and the organization is shooting for a 55% drop by the decade’s end.
There is no acceptable level of air pollution, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) strict air quality standards issued in 2021; nonetheless, there are upper limits for a number of pollutants.
The European Parliament decided in September to delay the implementation of new air quality standards until 2035, even though they would bring them in line with the World Health Organization’s standards.
“Our air quality is improving, which is good news,” Sinkevičius stated on the clean air program. “Nevertheless, we must continue to improve and reduce pollution levels even further.”
The researchers determined the number of extra years that people had to deal with air pollution-related ailments.
This change had little effect on some diseases like lung cancer and ischemic heart disease, but it highlighted previously unrecognized levels of suffering in death rates, especially for asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
“When people get lung cancer, normally they die very quickly,” said Alberto González Ortiz, an EEA air pollution researcher, speaking to The Guardian.
“This state of living with disability also makes a significant contribution for other diseases, particularly asthma, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” he noted.