World Bulletin / New Desk
Air pollution is shortening lives by almost two years in parts of the European Union, the European Environmental Agency (EEA) said, strengthening the case for a tightening of emissions restrictions in the bloc.
Legislation had managed to cut the amount of some toxins belched out by exhaust fumes and chimneys across Europe, according to an EEA report published on Monday.
But there were still dangerous levels of microscopic particles, known as particulate matter and linked to diseases such as lung cancer and cardiovascular problems, it added.
On average, air pollution was reducing human lives across the region by roughly eight months, the report said. It also quoted separate European Commission-funded research showing that a reduction in particulate levels could extend life expectancy by 22 months in some areas.
The report did not spell out where those areas were, but it said that Poland and other industrial regions of eastern Europe had particularly high levels or particulate pollution.
Alone among British cities, London also exceeded daily EU limits for particulate matter.
Speaking after the launch of the report, EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik said that a review of EU air quality laws next year needed to bring EU limits on pollution levels closer to the stricter World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations on safe levels of pollutants.
"This (the report) is a really serious warning about the importance to our quality of life and health," Potocnik told Reuters.
Apart from the impact on health, EEA Executive Director Jacqueline McGlade said that the pollution costs the bloc 1 trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) a year in healthcare and dealing with the wider impact on ecosystems.
"European Union policy has reduced emissions of many pollutants over the last decade, but we can go further," she said.
OZONE ANOTHER CHALLENGE
Particulate matter is considered to be the most serious air pollution risk in Europe. Using the most recent data from 2010, the report said 21 percent of the bloc's urban population was exposed to larger particulate matter at concentrations above a daily EU limit.
Up to 30 percent of city dwellers faced exposure to finer particles above the yearly EU target level. These finer particles are small enough to pass from the lungs into the bloodstream, making them particularly hazardous to health.
Another major air pollutant is ozone, which can cause respiratory problems. Again, exposure levels were high, with sunny Mediterranean nations particularly affected because sunlight is needed to form ozone.
In 2010, 97 percent of EU inhabitants were exposed to ozone above the WHO reference levels - and 17 percent above the much lower EU target level.
The pollutants come from fumes from cars, industry and household fuel burning.
After going through complex chemical reactions in the air, the pollutants get into water and agricultural land, thereby posing a threat to agricultural production.
While many pollutants are an unremitting problem, there has been success in dealing with sulphur dioxide, whose levels have dropped following laws on sulphur content in fuels.
In 2010, the EU urban population for the first time was not exposed to sulphur dioxide above the EU limit level.
Product available for pre-order in nine countries but devices won’t ship for weeks.
Nobel Prize-winning scientists' discovery can be manufactured cheaper thanks to Nanografi process.
Most industry experts expect the first product of 5G technology in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
The slowdown in the rate of rising temperatures, from faster gains in the 1980s and 1990s, has puzzled scientists because heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions
The discovery challenges currently held theories that black holes and their host galaxies grew in relative lockstep over the eons.
Australian researchers are developing the new way to have a final product for Boeing Co, Airbus Group NV, very quickly than now. 3D printing can cut production times for components from three months to just six days.
Bogachev is charged in the United States with running a computer attack network called GameOver Zeus that allegedly stole more than $100 million from online bank accounts.
The account started sharing videos and photos of the militant group a few days ago
U.S., UK spies hacked SIM card maker Gemalto's system, Intercept says, giving spies ability to monitor calls on billions of phones
The next time an earthquake hits the Pacific Northwest, a handful of computers in offices across the region will have access to a software that will send out an alarm, alerting people before the earthquake strikes.
Researchers in Britain have discovered that limpet teeth exhibit a strength that is potentially higher than spider silk.
Epigenetic differences are one reason identical twins, who have identical DNA, do not always develop the same genetic diseases, including cancer.
Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria.
The makers of mobile travel app "Bey2ollak" have warn on bomb scares and resulting hold-ups in Cairo and Alexandria using the hashtag #WhereIsTheBomb.
The preschool programme, aimed at children aged between three and six, is based on the Finnish National Curriculum, widely considered one of the world's best education systems.