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European Air Quality Update

Europeans can monitor the air quality in over 340 of their cities through the European city air quality viewer. The data for ranking the European cities was collected from over 400 monitoring stations over the past two years.

Air Quality in Europe

European Air Quality image
  1. Air quality in 2020-2021 was good in only 11 European cities, having levels of particulate matter PM2.5 below the World Health Organization’s (WHO) health-based guidelines.

  2. Of the 343 European cities included in the viewer, 97% were above the WHO guidelines.

  3. In contrast, the European Union’s (EU) annual limit for particulate matter PM2.5 was only exceeded in the three most polluted cities, those being Nowy Sacz in Poland and Cremona and Padova in Italy.

  4. Starting in 2020, under the National Emission reduction Commitments (NEC) directive, EU Member States saw a transition to more stringent national emission reduction commitments to reduce emissions for five air pollutants.

  5. 2020 saw just under half of Member States meet all their national commitments to cutting air pollutant emissions.

  6. Reducing emissions of ammonia from agriculture is the biggest challenge. 11 Member States still need to cut their emissions levels. 

  7. On the bright side, the annual EU emission inventory report 1990-2020 showed a downward trend in emissions (1990-2020) of six air pollutants: carbon monoxide, ammonia, nitrogen oxides, non-methane volatile organic compounds, sulphur oxides and particulate matter.


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