Air Pollution Causes Over 500,000 Premature Deaths In Europe Every Year, Study Reveals

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Figures from the European Environment Agency (EEA) have revealed air pollution causes more than 500,000 premature deaths in Europe every year.

A study by Hyundai focused on 2,000 adults and considered how members of the public are affected by the damage air pollution can cause, revealing millions of Brits worry daily about what pollution is doing both to their health and the environment.

It found around a fifth of adults worry about the dangers of dirty air, with 74 per cent admitting they could do more to lead an environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

The number of people worried about air pollution varied by city, with Londoners most concerned with 55 per cent worried about the effects of air pollution, followed by 52 per cent in Edinburgh and 50 per cent in Manchester.

The study found the biggest concern among participants was the effect air pollution is having on children, the effect of poor air quality on our personal health, the damage caused to the environment, and climate change some of the other worries expressed by those polled.

Air pollution, described as ‘the invisible killer’ by the EEA, is the main cause of premature death in 41 European countries and causes around 40,000 deaths in the UK each year .

According to recent data from the Office for National Statistics, 1,320 people in England and Wales died of asthma last year, a huge rise of 25 per cent over the past decade.

In an attempt to slow the rapid effects of climate change, the Government now wants at least half of new cars to be ultra low emission by 2030.

Hyundai’s new Kona Electric model has a range of up to 300 miles between charges, with the car manufacturer taking 500 orders in just eight weeks.

The Nexo SUV, which will start from around £65,000, has a driving range of up to 414 miles and takes around five minutes to refuel the hydrogen-powered engine.

Hyundai earth-friendly carSWNS

It recently became the first hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle to be awarded the maximum five-star safety rating by Euro NCAP.

There are currently 11 publicly accessible Hydrogen refuelling stations in the UK, but the number is expected to reach 65 across the UK by 2030.

Technology expert Georgie Barrat has teamed up with the car brand to talk to Brits, with the hope of exploring their attitudes towards air pollution.

Pollution power plantPixabay

Mum-of-two Julia Devonshire told Georgie:

When it comes to air pollution, I think about the effect it may have on my children.

Luckily, they don’t have asthma or any conditions like that because I think then it would be much more concerning.

However, this has made us think more about the emissions we put out as a family, and the measures we could take to reduce them.

Hyundai eco-friendly carSWNS

Speaking about what she learned, Georgie said:

It was really interesting listening to the Devonshires’ concerns when it comes to air pollution, and it’s understandable that parents are worried about what their children are breathing in.

Hyundai’s Nexo is one of the solutions that could help address our air quality problem and it was great to see it in action.

Refuelling with hydrogen was surprisingly quick and easy – just like filling up a petrol or diesel car – and it’s incredible that the only by-product is water.

But what I found most impressive is how Nexo actually cleans the polluted air around it as it drives – it’s like a road hoover.

Everything we can do to help the environment is a step in the right direction!

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.