With the contribution of the LIFE programme of the European Union - LIFE14 ENV/GR/000611
This is why GYM matters
Some 80,000 deaths are prevented each year thanks to the introduction of EU policies and new technologies to reduce air pollution. This is the finding of a new study led by the UK’s University of Leeds that shows a 35% reduction of fine particles in the atmosphere between 1970 and 2010.
These measures include EU regulations for the improvement of fuel quality and the adoption of European emissions standards in transport, as well as the introduction of particle filters and catalytic converters.
Researchers then estimated the number of lives saved each year thanks to the improved air quality based on the relationships they found between the amount of air pollution and the impacts on human health.
On average, they concluded, 80.000 lives are saved every year across Europe. “To put this number in perspective,” explains co-author Professor Ken Carslaw, of the university’s School of Earth and Environment, “in 2011 just slightly in excess of 400.000 premature deaths were attributed to particulate air pollution over Europe, so EU policy has dramatically improved the health of European citizens.”
Their finding provides an important argument for the UK’s continued membership of the EU, says co-author Dr Dominick Spracklen, also of the School of Earth and Environment. “Our work shows that EU policies have improved air quality. If the UK were to exit the EU, our air quality policy would no longer be subject to EU legislation, with potential implications for future air quality,” he explains. “Regardless of the UK’s position in the EU, it is vital that we continue to reduce air pollution emissions to ensure future air quality and the health of the British public.”
The study has been published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
Source: PanEuporean Networks
The LIFE GYM [LIFE14 ENV/GR/000611] project is co-funded by the LIFE programme, the EU financial instrument for the environment.
The sole responsibility for the content of this report lies with the authors. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union. Neither the EASME nor the European Commission are responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.
Start Date: 15 September 2015 – Duration: 35 months
In the study – the first to look into the effectiveness of specific EU policies to reduce air pollution across Europe – researchers used a computer model to compare the current amount of air pollution simulated across Europe to a scenario in which no air quality legislation or new emissions technologies had been introduced since 1970.