Air pollution. Italy is Europe’s most polluted country

Secondo il rapporto dell’Aea solo in Italia sono 84400 le morti premature causate dalle polveri fini. La più colpita è la Pianura Padana.

Particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide. Europe’s air quality is significantly threatened by these pollutants, mostly in urban centres, according to the latest report of the European Environment Agency (EEA), entitled Air Quality in Europe 2015. It examines the European population’s exposure to air pollutants and provides a snapshot of air quality based on data provided by official monitoring stations across Europe.


©Kevin Frayer / Stringer / Getty


The report finds that despite a decrease in total emissions has been registered over the past 10 years, concentrations are still above the World Health Organisation’s recommended levels.


Despite continuous improvements in recent decades, air pollution is still affecting the general health of Europeans, reducing their quality of life and life expectancy,” said EEA Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx. “It also has considerable economic impacts, increasing medical costs and reducing productivity through working days lost across the economy.”


Air pollution in China ©Kevin Frayer / Stringer/Getty


The particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), ozone (O3), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are the most problematic pollutants. As for PM2.5 alone, estimates show 432,000 premature deaths in Europe. Italy has the major concentrations of pollutants, along with Germany and France. Indeed, 84,400 premature deaths have been registered in Italy, followed by Germany (72,000) and France (58,400).


The causes are mainly linked to the transport industry, which is responsible for 46% of the emissions of nitric oxide, to the domestic and commercial heating, which produce 43 to 58% of the particulate matter, and to the energy production, which is the major emitter of sulphur oxides. These are followed by industry, agriculture (particularly for the production of ammonia) and waste, which produce a significant amount of methane (31%).


In terms of life months lost, according to a report published in June by the Italian associations Cittadini per l’Aria: “This means that pollution shortens the life of every Italian of 10 months on average; 14 for those who live in Northern Italy, 6.6 for those who live in Central Italy, and 5.7 for those who live in Southern Italy”.

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