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European governments failing to protect citizens from air pollution, data reveals

(The Guardian, 23 Nov 2020) Pollutants from farming, heating and vehicles beyond levels needed to ensure breathable air.

Governments across Europe are failing to protect their citizens from toxic air pollution, with most Europeans still breathing filthy air in their cities, according to data.

Pollutants from farming, domestic heating and vehicles are beyond the levels needed to ensure breathable air within World Health Organization guidelines, despite EU legislation, government pledges and years of campaigning.

Only Ireland, Iceland, Finland and Estonia showed levels of fine particulate matter – one of the most dangerous forms of air pollution – that were below the WHO guidelines in 2018, according to data released on Monday by the European Environment Agency.

Exposure to such pollution caused about 417,000 premature deaths across Europe – including non-EU member states – in 2018.

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The Guardian, 23 Nov 2020: European governments failing to protect citizens from air pollution, data reveals