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Outdoor air pollution is the number one environmental cause of premature death in the European Union and its all inhaled though our lungs, our patients, children, older people are the most concerned. That is why is not surprising that Eurostat, EU's statistical agency, reflects the need to appease European concern on harmful dirty air we daily breath. Last 4 May, Eurostat announced that in 2016, Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions levels from fuel combustion “slightly decreased” in the European Union (EU). A reduction of exactly 0.4 compared to 2015.

This decrease, at first glance a good new, was registered only in 11 member states: notably in Malta (-18.2%), Bulgaria (-7.0%), Portugal (-5.7%) and the United Kingdom (-4.8%). While in 17 of the 28 member states, the levels are increasing, the highest found in Finland (+8.5%), followed by Cyprus (+7.0%), Slovenia (+5.8%) and Denmark (+5.7%).

Air pollution is a serious problem: both indoor and outdoor affects 100% of the European population and is responsible for a wide range of health effects.  That is why one year registration with a “slight decrease” in air pollution is not enough. Especially when 10 times more people are killed by air pollution than by road accidents in the EU and when what the Eurostat press release doesn’t mention is that in 2015, CO2 emissions had increased by 0.7 percent compared to 2014. Meaning that this last year 2016, CO2 emissions are still higher than the ones of 2014, concretely 0.29 percent compared to 2014.

CO2 emissions are influenced by factors such as economic growth, size of the population, transport and industrial activities; is the major contributor to global warming and account for around 80% of all EU greenhouse gas emissions. Besides, the Climate change and this dirty air make pollen grains suspend in the air more aggressive to human health. That is why people living with asthma, allergy and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are the first citizens harmed by pollution: their symptoms and their quality of life, already difficult, may worsen.

Despite warnings, many EU Members States continue to breach EU rules on air quality. In Bulgaria (even with the mentioned decrease in the country) has been already found guilty by the Court of Justice of the EU for systematic and constant exceeding of EU norms on fine particulate matter over its whole country, and Poland is currently facing a case in front of the Court.

The European Union norms protecting our health from air pollution are less strict than the recommendations made in 2005 by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Breathing means living. Every day an adult breathes 15 cubic meter of air, to the point that more air enters our body and blood than any other substance. That is why air quality air a priority for EFA. We fight everyday towards demanding the European Union to reduce air pollution concentrations to levels in line to the ones established by the WHO and we advocate for an EU strategy that tackles bad indoor air quality, among others.

EFA doesn’t forget that the access to clean air is a fundamental right for all citizens in the European Union and a lifeline for people that we represent.

Tags: Category: News
Country: EU
Disease area: Asthma,Allergy,COPD
Theme: Air quality, - Air pollution