According to Airparif, 7,900 premature deaths linked to air pollution would have been avoidable in 2022 if the right measures had been taken.
By LL with AFP
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VS’is better, but more needs to be done. Airparif took stock of the air quality in Île-de-France in 2022. Although the situation has improved slightly, the pollution levels observed are still far from respecting the recommendations of the World Health Organization. (WHO).
Air pollution is the cause of serious chronic pathologies, such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and certain cancers. According to the regional health observatory in IDF and Airparif, 7,900 premature deaths linked to air pollution would have been avoidable in 2022 if the appropriate measures had been taken, i.e. as many as in 2021.
In terms of good news, the number of pollution days in 2022 has never been so low: ten days (eleven in 2021). One downside, however: fine particles (PM 2.5) are not included in the threshold for triggering these alerts, underlines Airparif.
Another positive point, the levels of nitrogen and particles (PM 10) “continue to drop”, continuing their “improvement started two decades ago”.
Thus, “for the first time, no Ile-de-France resident is exposed to air whose concentration exceeds the regulatory limit value for PM 10 particles (40 micrograms per cubic meter on average annually)” according to French regulations, notes Airparif, responsible air quality monitoring in the region.
90% of Ile-de-France residents exposed to exceeding the thresholds
This drop is due in particular to the regulations put in place, resulting in a “trend decrease in emissions from the residential sector and road traffic”, and to favorable weather conditions, which limited emissions related to heating.
But all of this needs to be qualified, underlines Airparif, recalling that French regulations are still far below the recommendations of the WHO, revised in 2021.
According to the latter, “nearly 90% of Ile-de-France residents” were in fact exposed last year to exceeding the thresholds for PM 10 and “all” of them were also exposed for PM 2.5. .
The WHO recommends exposure to PM 10 not to exceed 15 micrograms per cubic meter as an annual average. For PM 2.5, the annual average limit is set at 5 micrograms per cubic meter.
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In addition, for nitrogen dioxide, 40,000 Ile-de-France residents are still exposed to air whose concentrations exceed the imposed limit value, set in France at 40 micrograms per cubic meter as an annual average (10 micrograms per cubic meter for the WHO ).
In October 2022, the European Union began a process of lowering the limit values for air pollution, which, without being aligned with those of the WHO, will approach them by 2030 (10 micrograms per cubic meter for PM 2.5 and 20 micrograms for nitrogen dioxide).
But the black spot in Île-de-France remains low altitude ozone, an air pollutant and greenhouse gas that forms by combining other pollutants in the presence of high heat and strong sunshine. Its presence is increasing with global warming.
The concentration of this gas shows no improvement and would even tend to progress, the quality objective being exceeded at all points in the region by 2022, both with regard to French regulations (limit of 120 micrograms per cubic meter on a eight-hour period) than that of the WHO (100 micrograms per cubic meter over eight hours).