Air and noise pollution are some of the biggest environmental challenges in Europe, affecting millions of people every year. The EEB works to ensure that European laws concerning air quality and noise pollution, protect people and ecosystems from the significant threats posed.
In 2020, 96% of the EU’s urban population was exposed to concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) above the WHO guideline level of 5 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m3) of air. Dangerous for human health, air pollution also harms biodiversity and damages agricultural crops and forests, causing major health issues and economic losses.
Long term exposure to environmental noise is often underestimated as a significant risk to human health, but according to the EEA, noise is estimated to cause 12 000 premature deaths and contribute to 48 000 new cases of coronary artery disease per year in Europe. Over 22 million people suffer chronic high annoyance, and 6.5 million people suffer chronic high sleep disturbance, due to noise pollution.
Both air and noise pollution are listed under the European Commission’s Zero Pollution Action Plan. As part of the zero pollution 2050 ambition, the Commission aims to reduce levels of pollution to below those considered harmful to human health.
EU Commission’s targets include:
- 30% reduction of the share of people chronically disturbed by transport noise
- 55% reduction of premature deaths linked to air pollution
In order to develop policies that work for people and nature, the EEB organises regular working group meetings with its members and thematic experts from across Europe to discuss the challenges of addressing poor air quality and noise pollution effectively. The group then makes recommendations to both national and European decision makers on a wide variety of air quality related issues.