Bulgaria's Bad Air Highlights European Pollution Problem

A new report by the European Environment Agency points to progress in cutting the continent's air pollution problem. However, up to 98% of Europe's urban residents are exposed to hazardous air, and in places like Bulgaria the danger is acute.
October 15, 2013, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Hold your breath if you visit Bulgaria," writes Danny Hakim. "The air in the small Black Sea nation is thicker with several major air pollutants than the air in any other country in Europe, according to a new study prepared by Europe’s environmental regulators."

"But Bulgaria is hardly alone in having air quality challenges," he adds. "While Bulgarian cities lead in the concentration of particulates, Poland is a frequent runner-up, and cities in northern Italy lead in ozone, according to separate data provided by the agency.

“Large parts of the population do not live in a healthy environment,” Hans Bruyninckx, the executive director of the European Environment Agency said in a statement. “To get on to a sustainable path, Europe will have to be ambitious and go beyond current legislation.”
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Published on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 in The New York Times
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