“When air pollution is bad, we are told to avoid eating or exercising outside,” Transport Environment‘s Jens Müller said. “But walking around cities and eating on restaurant terraces is what city breaks are all about. Right now, tourists, including kids, are more or less forced to smoke, in terms of the health impacts.”
Istanbul and Prague are the worst of this air pollution ‘top ten’, with a four-day stay in these cities equivalent of smoking one cigarette a day. In Milan the number is 3, followed by Amsterdam and Vienna, which are the same as Paris. Air quality measured best are Barcelona and Dublin with 1.
These particles are known to produce respiratory and cardiovascular illness and are small enough to invade even the smallest airways of the human body.
Only a few days ago, authorities in the French capital banned the most polluting vehicles from the city to fight the smog brought on by the heatwave. France and five other European countries were taken to court by the EU for failing to respect air quality limits and face billion of euros in fines.
The environmental group warns that the situation could be much worse than citizens believe.
Yet pollution may be much worse than recognised officially. This is because authorities frequently rig monitoring stations to hide bad results, placing them in parks, calm streets or switching them off altogether,” Transport and Environment wrote in its report.