Following authorities’ various confinement and lockdown measures in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, air quality has significantly improved in Europe.
A recent study by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air based in Helsinki, Finland, notes that the measures have led to an approximate 40% reduction in average levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution, and a 10% reduction in average levels of particulate matter pollution over the past 30 days.
As a result, 11,300 premature deaths have been prevented due to cleaner air according to the study. In Belgium, 250 premature deaths were avoided.
“Our analysis emphasizes the advantages for public health and quality of life if we diminish the use of fossil fuels rapidly and sustainably,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, who led the study, New Mobility reports.
Average life expectancy in the European Union is shortened by an estimated eight months due to pollution exposure according to the European Environmental Agency (EEA).
In 2016, 400,000 deaths in the European region were attributed to particulate matter (PM) pollution, and 71,000 deaths to Nitrogen Dioxide air pollution, the EEA reports.