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Fara, Funchal and Umeå (Sweden) Least Polluted Cities

In a recent air quality report, the European Environmental Agency (EEA), concluded that the in 2020 and 2021 Faro, Funchal, and Umeå (Sweden), had the best air quality.

According to the updated air quality barometer in European cities, which includes more than 340 cities, Umeå is the cleanest city in Europe in terms of air quality, followed by Faro and then Funchal. Eight more European cities were classified as having air that was ‘good.’ While Lisbon ranked 82nd, for its ‘reasonable’ air quality. The most polluted cities are Padova and Cremona, in Italy, and Nowy Sacz, in Poland.

According to the EEA, the classifications were obtained based on the average levels of fine particles (PM2.5) obtained in more than 400 monitoring stations in the last two years. The barometer focuses on PM2.5 as exposure to this air pollution causes the most serious health effects, and has the greatest impact in terms of premature death and illness.

From the data analysis, the AEA concludes that air quality was considered good in only 11 cities, with PM2.5 levels below the values ​​established by the World Health Organization (WHO) for long-term exposure to fine particles: five micrograms per cubic meter of air. These values ​​were exceeded in 97% of the 343 European cities included in the barometer.

Taking into account the European Union’s annual limit value for fine particles of 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air, the limit value was only exceeded in the three most polluted cities, which shows the great difference between the WHO guideline and the norm of the European Union.

The EEA also analysed the progress of member states in relation to emission reduction commitments, under a directive according to which countries are required to fulfill national commitments to reduce five air pollutants, and concluded that less than half of the states had fulfilled all of them. the goals.

The directive sets targets for the reduction of total annual emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) and ammonia (NH3).

According to the EEA report, in 2020 (the latest information available and not yet fully verified by the Commission), the biggest challenge is the reduction of ammonia emissions from agriculture, with 11 of the countries having to reduce the levels of these emissions.

Only 13 countries met their commitments on each of the top five pollutants, while the remaining 14 did not meet their commitments on at least one of the pollutants.

Samantha Gannon

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