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News article14 November 2023Directorate-General for Environment2 min read

The Road to Green 6: The long road towards better EU air quality

This episode looks into the issue of air pollution in European cities and tracks down potential solutions.

Man keeping in his hands a tube
Prof Filip Meysman, Coordinator of CurieuzenAir, University of Antwerp © Euronews

Clean air is essential for our health and the environment. But despite progress in recent decades, air pollution due to emissions from transport, industry, agriculture and domestic heating remains a major problem. In the EU, 300 000 premature deaths are caused by air pollution every year. It is a leading cause of stroke, cancer, diabetes, and other health issues, and it especially affects the most vulnerable social groups. Air pollution moreover leads to acidification and eutrophication, causing damage to the environment, and it entails significant economic costs.

But how do we know and monitor the air that we breathe, and can we play a part in improving it? The latest episode of the Road to Green takes us to Warsaw, where the transition to clean air is gaining momentum. The episode focuses on the efforts by civil society and public authorities to address pollution in Poland’s capital and the broader region. The Road to Green then heads to Brussels, where air pollution is measured through the CurieuzenAir citizen science project. The trip ends in Copenhagen where we learn about the European Environment Agency’s new European Air Quality Index application, which allows users to keep track of air quality via their mobile devices.

Watch the full episode.



Poor air quality and its impact on human health and the environment is a major cause of concern for European citizens. Whilst EU actions have contributed to improving air quality over the last decades, there remains a lot to be done.

The European Commission has proposed new rules in line with the EU’s Zero Pollution action plan, which contributes to the European Green Deal by putting the EU on a trajectory to zero pollution by 2050.

The proposed revision of the Ambient Air Quality Directives sets stricter air quality standards that align more closely with the World Health Organization’s guidelines. The Commission’s proposal furthermore introduces new requirements that will improve air quality monitoring and modelling.

Watch previous episodes from "The Road to Green" TV magazine


DG ENV co-finances the production of the Road to Green, while Euronews retain full editorial independence. Views and opinions expressed in the programme are solely those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the European Commission or any other entities.


Publication date
14 November 2023
Directorate-General for Environment

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