Copenhagen. Around 240,000 people in the EU died prematurely in 2020 due to the air pollution in their area with fine dust. The EU Environment Agency EEA published this estimate on Thursday. People who live in cities are therefore particularly at risk: almost all city dwellers (96 percent) are exposed to fine dust levels that are above the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline values of five micrograms per cubic meter, it said.
Although air quality in EU countries has improved in recent years and the number of premature deaths from pollution is falling, it still poses the greatest environmental health risk, it said. According to the Environment Agency, around 49,000 were due to chronic exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and 24,000 to ground-level ozone (O3) in addition to the premature deaths due to particulate matter.