Padua most ozone-polluted city in Europe
Italy at top of EEA list in terms of ozone, PM-10 pollution15 October, 20:26
In 2011, Padova was over EU ozone limits for a total of 104 days, followed by the cities of Pavia, Reggio Emilia, Treviso, Parma, Verona and Varese. Italy also has record levels of tropospheric or ground-level ozone, a pollutant. Northern Italy and the south of France are the hardest hit by ozone, which results from the reaction between different pollutants coming from fossil fuel combustion, refineries, road transport, landfills, and fires.
The reaction happens in the presence of heat and sunlight, so it is a summer problem especially in southern Europe.
Italy in 2011 was also the European country with the most airborne particulate matter or PM-10, along with Poland and Slovakia.
More than 90% of Europeans breathe too many PM-10s and 98% breathe too much ozone, the report said.
Traffic, industry, agriculture and housing are the worst generators of harmful PMs, according to the EEA.
''Air pollution is the first environmental cause of death in the EU, with 400,000 premature deaths in 2010. That's ten times the number of road accident fatalities, and an enormous cost in terms of health and the economy'', said EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik. Disease caused by air pollution causes the loss of 100 workdays a year, or 15 billion euros in lost productivity, and racked up four billion euros in health care coverage, according to Potocnik. The commissioner promised new regulations to combat this phenomenon will be ready by the end of the year.