Air pollution is not a problem that exists only in developing countries. The new data from the European Environment Agency shows that this is a serious challenge for many countries in Europe.

Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary are the most polluted countries in the European Union in regard to air quality, shows a study made by the European Environment Agency and cited by the World Economic Forum.

Fine dust particles are especially harmful to the health because they penetrate very rapidly into the lungs. In the case of deaths/population ratio, countries of Eastern Europe – Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Hungary are at the top.

In Bulgaria, a large proportion of the population in the country is producing heat in the cold months by burning solid fuel (most often low-quality coal). The stoves used are inefficient and the combustion of solid fuels is accompanied by the release of elements that are bad for our health.

In 2015, nearly half a million people died as a result of high exposure to fine particulate matter, ozone and nitrogen dioxide. Fine dust particles are the most deadly among these – about 400 thousand people from the EU died because of their harmful impact, the statistics show.

Although the number of deceased from polluted air over the last three decades has fallen constantly, the harmful levels remain high. EEA states that today, 90 percent of Europeans breathe low quality air and air pollution is the biggest danger to human health.

Everywhere in the world, 9 out of 10 people live in areas with highly polluted air, causing about 7 million deaths every year.

Since 2013, the EU package has contributed to the gradual improvement of air quality across Europe. The aim is to significantly improve this quality by 2030. To this end, all parties should comply with the requirements. However, many of them do not do so. In May, the EC filed complaints against Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Hungary and Romania due to poor air in cities.

Overall, a series of regulatory measures in the USA, the European Union and Japan have helped to drastically reduce emissions in certain sectors. However, the opposite is happening in developing countries in Asia, where, due to a lack of regulation on fuels and energy efficiency, emissions are constantly increasing. Over 6.5 million people die every year because of polluted air. Under this indicator, Bulgaria has the fourth highest mortality rate per 100 000 people – a sad ranking led by Georgia. Bulgaria is followed by China and India, while France, Norway and the USA are among the best presenters of this indicator.