Excess diesel emissions produce a tiny portion of harmful dusts. Yet, they cause dozens of deaths in Europe’s highly populated road traffic hotspots. The fact that they have such a high health impact despite their relatively small contribution to overall pollution reveals how seriously air contamination threatens our lives.
In Europe, more than a third of those killed each year by toxic particulates associated with diesel emissions exceeding the EU limits live in about one hundred urban conglomerates. Such areas are mainly located in Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain. The total is between 1,500 and 2,000 premature deaths, for a total population of 100,000 inhabitants (almost 2 percent).
The blacklist of the European communities with the highest death toll is based on data by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (MetNorway). The two research organisations had published a joint study back in September 2017, warning that nearly 5,000 people die prematurely every year due to excess emissions that car makers should have avoided by law.
The researchers cropped all the European countries into 6,600 geographical regions as a way to calculate the most accurate pollution levels in each inhabited area.
Based on this geographical distribution and on equations proven by independent experts, journalists managed to map deaths due to excess diesel emissions in all of the regional divisions. The goal is to show citizens the extent to which Dieselgate has an impact in their own neighborhood, bringing the issue closer to home than the halls of eurocracy where, unknown to them, national government representatives adopted flawed restrictions on diesel car pollution, incapable of safeguarding their health.
File number: JF/JA2A/2017410
A European cross-border research grant of €6,000, allocated on 1 September 2017.
Stefano Valentino is a freelance reporter and entrepreneurial media maker, passionate about the intersection between sustainability, power and digitalisation. He is the founder of MobileReporter, a collaborative journalism platform and winner of the Google News Innovation Contest. A former Brussels correspondent of Il Giornale and blogger of Repubblica.it, he is the author of political reportages and social and environmental news reports from over 30 countries for Italian and foreign news organisations, such as il Venerdi, Internazionale, The Guardian and L’Express. In 2016 he followed the Italian oceanographic expedition to Antarctica for RAI Sciences. He is a member of the Future Media Lab, a grantee of the Investigative/Environment Journalism Fund, and a former visiting scholar at U.C. Berkeley and Columbia University.
Gian-Paolo Accardo is an Italian-Dutch journalist. A law graduate, he is VoxEurop’s executive editor, VoxEurop European Co-operative Society’s co-founder and CEO, and the European Data Journalism Network editorial coordinator. A former deputy editor-in-chief at Presseurop and Courrier international, he works as a correspondant for Internazionale, after having done the same job for Italy’s TMNews press agency. He lives between Paris and Brussels.
Dieselgate, lo studio: Milano Nord e Monza le aree in Europa con maggiori decessi da emissioni (IT)- lfattoquotidiano, 17 April 2018
Top 100 European places where Dieselgate ‘kills’ most – EUObserver, 7 June 2018
EXCLUSIVITÉ Ces 100 zones urbaines où le dieselgate tue le plus – Alternatives Economiques, 15 March 2018
Barcelona es mejor ciudad que Madrid para morir prematuramente respirando diésel (ES) – El Confidencial, 21 March 2018