More than 90% of people in European cities breathe dangerous air, study finds

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More than 90% of people in European cities breathe dangerous air, study finds

Post  guest... on Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:55 pm

Countries have downplayed hazards of air pollution despite evidence that it leads to 430,000 shortened lives a year.


More than 90% of people living in European cities breathe air that the UN's World Health Organisation says leads to respiratory problems, heart disease and shortened lives, according to a study published on Tuesday.

But because EU legal limits or targets for some pollutants still lag well behind UN recommendations, most countries have been able to downplay the hazards of dirty air despite evidence that it leads to 430,000 shortened lives in Europe every year and costs governments tens of billions of pounds in hospital admissions.

According to the European Environment Agency (EEA) study, the past 10 years have seen a steady decline in the emissions of most air pollutants, leading to "acceptable" levels across the continent for carbon monoxide and lead. "Nevertheless, road transport, industry, power plants and farming continue to emit significant amounts of pollutants … which leads to acid rain, loss of biodiversity, reduction of visibility and damage to materials and buildings," says the report.

EU environment commissioner, Janez Potočnik, suggested he was ready to take countries to the European courts and fine them for consistently failing to meet targets. "Air quality is a central concern for many people. Surveys show that a large majority of citizens understand well the impact of air quality on health and are asking public authorities to take action at EU, national and local levels, even in times of austerity and hardship. I am ready to respond to these concerns through the commission's upcoming air policy peview," he said.

Potočnik was backed by EEA director, Hans Bruyninckx. "Large parts of the population do not live in a healthy environment, according to current standards. To get on to a sustainable path, Europe will have to be ambitious and go beyond current legislation."

The difference between WHO recommendations and EU legal limits is seen most starkly with particulate matter, a pollutant made up of tiny particles of dust, dirt and soot emitted from cars and factories, and low-level ozone, a dangerous gas formed by the reaction of sunlight with some pollutants. The WHO suggests 85-98% of Europe's urban population is exposed to dangerous levels of both but the EU says only 14-31% of people are exposed. Countries, including Britain, have consistently argued that Europe should not raise air pollution standards and have actively tried to delay implementing EU legal limits to avoid having to remove cars from roads or force industry to invest in better technology.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/15/european-cities-dangerous-air-pollution


I think this goes back to my point of how more people have developed asthma today!

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Re: More than 90% of people in European cities breathe dangerous air, study finds

Post  Tess on Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:20 pm

I'm not at all surprised. Last time I was in London I was out shopping and I had a job breathing! The air was just full of diesel exhaust from the traffic. Damn near choked me. Maybe I used to be acclimatized to it, but now that I've been breathing proper fresh air for a few years I can tell just how bad London air is.
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Re: More than 90% of people in European cities breathe dangerous air, study finds

Post  guest... on Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:26 pm

@Tess wrote:I'm not at all surprised.  Last time I was in London I was out shopping and I had a job breathing! The air was just full of diesel exhaust from the traffic.  Damn near choked me.  Maybe I used to be acclimatized to it, but now that I've been breathing proper fresh air for a few years I can tell just how bad London air is.

It is interesting you say that Tess if you have become acclimatized to where you live. Like I say you live where the air I guess has little pollution and like my brother who lives in a rural town also went to work in Hong Kong started getting breathing problems.

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Re: More than 90% of people in European cities breathe dangerous air, study finds

Post  Tess on Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:30 pm

Didge wrote:
It is interesting you say that Tess if you have become acclimatized to where you live. Like I say you live where the air I guess has little pollution and like my brother who lives in a rural town also went to work in Hong Kong started getting breathing problems.  
I imagine Hong Kong's even worse than London. I suppose your body adapts to changes, like the people who had gills in Waterworld!
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Re: More than 90% of people in European cities breathe dangerous air, study finds

Post  guest... on Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:34 pm

@Tess wrote:I imagine Hong Kong's even worse than London.  I suppose your body adapts to changes, like the people who had gills in Waterworld!

lol! now that was very funny Tess I enjoyed that.

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Re: More than 90% of people in European cities breathe dangerous air, study finds

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:02 pm

The report says that with the exception of Limerick & Cork Ireland's air is perfect.
Ireland wins again.

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Re: More than 90% of people in European cities breathe dangerous air, study finds

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:02 pm

Suck it, UK.

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Re: More than 90% of people in European cities breathe dangerous air, study finds

Post  mattiducatti on Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:32 pm

The worst has to be from diesel engines, PM 10s, really bad!


And on the rise with more and more people getting diesels cos of petrol prices and fuel economy, bloody busses everywhere too.


I read once that standing up Marylebone in London for an hour at peak traffic was equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes!
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