Just a couple of weeks ago a new, important study was published:
This is the first study to estimate the premature mortality burden due to Air Pollution at a city level in Europe.
The results show that a considerable proportion of premature deaths in European cities could be avoided annually by lowering air pollution levels, particularly below WHO guidelines. It shows that the mortality burden varies considerably between European cities, reaching up to 15% for PM2,5 and 7% for NO2 of annual premature mortality in the cities with the highest pollution concentrations.
The highest PM2,5 mortality burden for cities was found in Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, Greece, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Malta.
Hence, Greek cities have the fourth highest mortality burden due to Particulate Matter PM2,5 in Europe. Not an encouraging record at all!
Mortality in Athens, whose PM2,5 median Air Pollution was found at 17.1 μg/m3, could be reduced up to 116 people per 100.000 inhabitants, or 9% of the total population if Air Pollution levels were kept below the safety level of 10 μg/m3 defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The above means that, if we consider an Athens population of around 3.200.000 people, every year some 3700 people’s lives could be spared if Air Pollution was reduced to below WHO guidelines.
Across all European cities, 84% of the population were exposed to PM2,5 concentrations above the WHO guideline and 9% of the population were exposed to NO2 concentrations above the WHO guideline.
Compliance with the WHO air pollution guideline could prevent 51.000 annual premature deaths across Europe, while a reduction to the lowest measured concentrations could prevent even more annual premature deaths, as many as 125.000.