HEALTH According to the European Environment Agency, fine particles caused the premature death of some 231,000 people in 2019
Cars on the Paris ring road during an alert pollution. — V. WARTNER/20 MINUTES
The conclusion is once again clear: fine particle pollution kills. In 2020, “the’exhibition at concentrations of fine particles above the recommendations of the World Health Organization; has resulted in 238,000 premature deaths” to across the European Union, says the European Environment Agency (EEA) in a new report published today. this Thursday.
This’s up slightly from 2019, when the fine particles, which penetrate deep into the lungs, had caused the premature death of some 231,000 people. These figures contrast with the constant decline over the last twenty years, with a total decline of 45% between 2005 and 2020, even if the figure remains “significant” highlights the study.
The bad mix with Covid-19
This increase is explained in particular by the fact that the Covid-19 has affected harder on people with comorbidities related to air pollution (cancer, lung disease or type 2 diabetes). Furthermore, “if we compare 2020 to 2019, the number of premature deaths attributable to air pollution has increased; for (fine particles) PM2.5 but has decreased; for (nitrogen dioxide) NO2 and (ozone) O3”, details the AEE in its study.
For ozone particles (O3), particularly from road traffic and industrial activities, the trend in 2020 was to increase. the decline with more than 24,000 deaths, a decline of 3% over one year. For nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a gas produced mainly by vehicles and thermal power stations, more than 49,000 premature deaths have been recorded. recorded, a drop of 22% which is partially explained by the decrease in road traffic during the Covid-19 pandemic. The agency, based in Copenhagen, on the other hand, does not add up the balance sheets because, according to it, this would lead to a double counting.
According to its annual report, however, it believes that the EU is on the right track to re Achieve its target of reducing premature deaths by more than 50% by 2030 compared to 2005. In the early 1990s, fine particulates caused nearly one million premature deaths in the 27 EU countries. In 2005, 431,000 people still died from it. Air pollution remains the most significant environmental threat to human health. Europeans.