Exhaust fumes are the biggest killer in Europe

Exhaust fumes are the biggest killer in Europe

Transport, household activities and agriculture are the main contributors to air pollution-related deaths in European cities, a new study from the Institute for Global Health in Barcelona has found.

The research center analyzed two of the main pollutants in the atmosphere, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Vehicle emissions lead to 50% of all NO2-related deaths, followed by industrial pollution and fumes produced by the energy sector.

Indoor activities such as the use of coal and gas-fired heating systems, followed by agriculture, are the main contributors to PM2.5-related deaths.

Indoor activities accounted for more than 22% of all air pollution-related deaths in the 857 cities included in the report.

"If we look at NO2 and PM2.5 combined, traffic remains the largest contributor to both poor air quality and associated mortality," said Sasha Khomenko, ISGlobal researcher and first author of the study.

However, the results varied from city to city, for example in Lisbon, where air pollutants generated by agriculture are not a major issue, marine pollution is a bigger concern.

Emissions from cruise and cargo ships are a major source of maritime traffic pollution, contributing to 10,116 air pollution-related deaths across Europe in 2022./Scan