Laut European Environment Agency Air pollution from particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and ozone causes 6.100 premature deaths per year in Austria, i.e. 69 deaths per 100.000 inhabitants. In eleven other EU countries, the number of fatalities in relation to the population is lower than in Austria, he says Austrian Traffic Club VCÖ attentively.
According to the WHO, the annual limit value for NO2 should be 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air, in Austria it is three times as high at 30 micrograms. The annual limit for PM10 is 40 micrograms per cubic meter of air, more than twice the WHO recommended 15 micrograms and the annual limit for PM2,5 is 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air, five times higher than the WHO recommendation.
The conclusion of the VCÖ: If Austria complies with the guidelines recommended by the WHO, 2.900 fewer people would die each year as a result of air pollution. The biggest sources of air pollutants are traffic, industry and buildings.
“Air is our most important food. What we breathe has a major impact on whether we stay healthy or get sick. Particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide can damage the respiratory tract, cause cardiovascular diseases and even strokes. The existing limit values are too high," says VCÖ expert Mosshammer, referring to the new guideline values of the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Traffic emissions in particular are emitted in large quantities where people live. The more pollutants come out of the exhaust, the more get into our lungs. That is why measures to reduce traffic emissions are so important,” emphasizes VCÖ expert Mosshammer zur air pollution.
Central to this is the shift from car journeys to public transport and, for shorter distances, to cycling and walking. In addition to improving the offer and infrastructure, the reduction and management of public car parking spaces is also essential. Environmental zones should also be introduced for the transport of goods. In inner cities, only emission-free vehicles should deliver instead of diesel vans.
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