This is what the 2019 figures from the European Environment Agency EEA show. In 2018, an estimated 346,000 Europeans died from the effects of air pollution. In the early 1990s, air pollution even killed nearly a million people.
The World Health Organization (WHO) tightened air quality guidelines this fall for the first time since 2005.
Exposure to harmful substances in the air can lead to lung cancer, heart disease and other ailments, the WHO said. The organization said there is new evidence that air pollution is harmful even at lower concentration levels than previously thought.
If EU member states implement new WHO air quality guidelines from the World Health Organization, the drop could be much larger in the future, agency points out European Union for the environment.
Most deaths in Germany
In 2019, the highest number of deaths in the European Union from particulate matter occurred in Germany: 53,800. Italy followed with 49,900 deaths and France with 29,800 deaths. On a per capita basis, most people in Poland have died from air pollution.
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