Seven out of ten Europeans considering themselves unhappy with efforts by public authorities to improve air quality

The European Commission published a survey results which show that a majority (56%) of Europeans believe that air quality has deteriorated in the last 10 years. With regard to the EU air quality standards and national emission ceilings, more than half of the respondents were of the view that these instruments should be strengthened.

The Eurobarometer 'Attitudes of Europeans towards Air Quality' shows strong support for further action at EU level, according to the European Commission. Almost four out of five participants believe that the EU should propose additional measures to address air pollution. Moreover, the survey reveals widespread dissatisfaction with actions currently being taken to address air quality problems. The survey results also show a general sense that the level of information about air quality is insufficient; almost six out of ten (59%) Europeans do not feel adequately informed about air quality issues, with 31% of participants in Spain and 27% in Luxemburg, Cyprus and Latvia of the view that they are not informed at all. In December 2012, the Commission published a new public consultation to improve EU air quality policy.

Impacts of air pollution on health and nature are also a cause for concern. Almost 9 out of 10 Europeans believe that air quality-related diseases such as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are a serious problem. Around 8 out of ten consider acidification and eutrophication as serious problems.

On the other hand, electric cars and hybrid electric/gasoline cars are considered the most beneficial to air quality, and electricity the most environmentally friendly household heating system, followed by wood biomass, gas, and pellets biomass. On the most effective way to tackle air pollution, 43% of the participants suggest stricter emission controls on industry and energy production. Emissions from vehicles, industry and international transport are considered to have the biggest influence on air pollution.