European summer smog levels hit ten-year high

Serious ozone pollution will return if hot conditions of summer 2003 repeated, warns European environment agency

The European environment agency (EEA) has confirmed that smog levels were the highest for nearly a decade this summer, largely due to unusually hot and sunny weather. The situation is likely to repeat itself in any future summers with above average temperatures until further cuts have been made in ozone precursor pollutant emissions, it adds.

Between April and August a key EU "public information" threshold of 180 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3) ozone was exceeded at least once in 23 out of 31 countries monitored. Breaches of the threshold lasted an average of 3.5 hours, the longest since 1995.

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