98% of People in Europe Breathing Toxic Air, Experts Demanding Urgent Action

Related: Study Shows Almost Everyone in Europe is Poisoned with High Amounts of BPA

The real problem though is that carbon dioxide (what plants breathe) is going to make the weather 3 degrees warmer thirty years from now.

That’s what we really need to be focusing on: the baseless theory that carbon is a pollutant.

Unfortunately, that means we have to ignore the actual poisonous particulates in the air. Only the Guardian will report on it, because the NYT and WaPo have to focus on figuring out how to change the weather.

The Guardian:

Europe is facing a “severe public health crisis”, with almost everyone across the continent living in areas with dangerous levels of air pollution, an investigation by the Guardian has found.

Analysis of data gathered using cutting-edge methodology – including detailed satellite images and measurements from more than 1,400 ground monitoring stations – reveals a dire picture of dirty air, with 98% of people living in areas with highly damaging fine particulate pollution that exceed World Health Organization guidelines. Almost two-thirds live in areas where air quality is more than double the WHO’s guidelines.

The worst hit country in Europe is North Macedonia. Almost two-thirds of people across the country live in areas with more than four times the WHO guidelines for PM2.5, while four areas were found to have air pollution almost six times the figure, including in its capital, Skopje.


Eastern Europe is significantly worse than western Europe, apart from Italy, where more than a third of those living in the Po valley and surrounding areas in the north of the country breath air that is four times the WHO figure for the most dangerous airborne particulates.

The Guardian worked with pollution experts to produce an interactive map revealing the worst-hit areas on the continent. The measurements refer to PM2.5 – tiny airborne particles mostly produced from the burning of fossil fuels, some of which can pass through the lungs and into the blood stream, affecting almost every organ in the body. The current WHO guidelines state that annual average concentrations of PM2.5 should not exceed 5 micrograms a cubic metre (µg/m3). The new analysis found only 2% of the population of Europe live in areas within this limit. Experts say PM2.5 pollution causes about 400,000 deaths a year across the continent.

This is a severe public health crisis,” said Roel Vermeulen, a professor of environmental epidemiology at Utrecht University who led the team of researchers across the continent that compiled the data. “What we see quite clearly is that nearly everyone in Europe is breathing unhealthy air.”

Traffic, industry, domestic heating and agriculture are the main sources of PM2.5 and the impact is often felt disproportionately by the poorest communities.

Air pollution has become a key issue in Europe, with the EU coming under pressure to do more to tackle the growing public health crisis. Last week, the European parliament voted to adopt the WHO guidelines on PM2.5 by 2035. The law, which must still be finalised in negotiations with the council, would set a legally binding limit for annual PM2.5 concentrations of 5µg/m3, down from 25µg/m3 today.

But experts say urgent action needs taking now. They point to a growing body of evidence that shows air pollution affects almost every organ in the body and is linked to a huge range of health problems from heart and lung disease to cancer and diabetes, depression and mental illness to cognitive impairment and low birth weight.

One recent study found air pollution was responsible for 1 million stillbirths a year, another that young people living in cities already have billions of toxic air pollution particles in their hearts.

This could actually be exaggerated, I don’t know.

But seriously: industrial civilization has caused serious environmental problems. Carbon dioxide is not one of those problems.

And yet.

And yet.