Urban Romania is one of the air pollution hotspots in the European Union, Eurostat says.
A report called “How polluted is the air in urban areas? was released by the EU’s statistical office on Thursday. It looked at the average concentration of fine particles known as PM2.5 in cities across the bloc.
Pollutants such as fine particulate matter suspended in the air can lessen people’s life expectancy. They may also lead to or worsen chronic and acute respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
In recent years, levels in the EU have decreased to 12.6 μg/m3 in 2019.
But in Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and Croatia, the levels remain high.
The World Health Organization recommends an average of 10 μg/m3, the report said. Bulgaria and Poland have almost double that, followed by Romania (16.4 μg/m3) and Croatia (16.0 μg/m3).
At the other end of the scale, the cleanest air is to found in cities in Estonia where it’s 4.8 μg/m3, Finland at 5.1 μg/m3 and Sweden which has 5.8 μg/m3.
Fine particles called PM10 which have a diameter of less than 10 micrometers can be carried deep into the lungs, where they can cause inflammation and aggravate the condition of people suffering from heart and lung diseases.
Even smaller fine particles, the PM2.5 which have a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres are even worse for health as they can be drawn further into the lungs.
Eurostat published the news to mark EU Green Week which runs from 31 May to 4 June.