- Publication date
- 4 April 2022
Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk in Europe, causing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases that lead to the loss of healthy years of life and, in the most serious cases, to premature deaths. This briefing presents the status of concentrations of pollutants in ambient air in 2020 and 2021 by pollutant, in relation to both EU air quality standards and the WHO guidelines, updated in 2021. The assessment shows that exceedances of air quality standards are common across the EU, with concentrations well above the latest WHO recommendations. Nevertheless, in 2020, lockdown measures adopted to minimise the spread of COVID-19 had a temporary impact on emissions of air pollution from road transport and led to improved air quality.