The new edition of the European Environment Agency (EEA)’s Signals focuses on these questions. Signals 2013 provides information on the state of Europe’s air today, main information sources, links between climate change and air, the way different pollutants can form in the atmosphere, and European legislation affecting air quality.
Air quality in Europe has improved greatly in recent decades. However, air pollution is still a problem with severe impacts. Air pollution can trigger and aggravate respiratory diseases. It can damage forests, acidify soils and waters, reduce crop yields and corrode buildings. In particular, particulate matter and ozone pose serious health risks. Almost one third of Europe’s city dwellers are still exposed to excessive concentrations of particulate matter. Air pollution is also found to reduce the life expectancy of the average city dweller by eight months in Europe, or up to two years in some areas.