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Online event
Air pollution and COVID-19

Thursday, 11 June 2020


Alberto González Ortiz
Air Quality Expert, European Environment Agency
Eugenia Mansutti
Projects Coordinator & Policy Advisor, EUROCITIES
Jérome Arnaudis
Director for Air Solutions, SUEZ
Veronica Manfredi
Director, Quality of Life, DG Environment, European Commission
Yaron Ogen
Researcher, Institute of Geosciences and Geography, Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg


Annika Hedberg
Senior Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre

The coronavirus crisis has brought to light the hidden costs of our economic model, most notably, air pollution. While the reductions in transport emissions have happened for the wrong reasons and risk being only temporary, the pandemic has reminded people across the globe of the benefits of clean air. The recovery from the corona crisis and cleaner air can go hand in hand. Air pollution causes hundreds of thousands of premature deaths annually, in Europe alone. The related economic damage due to, for example, healthcare costs and decreased labour productivity is measured in hundreds of billions of euros.  This online Policy Dialogue explored the relationship between air pollution and COVID-19. The panelists discussed the role of new technologies in improving the quality of air, the implications for EU policy-making, and the prospects for the Commission’s forthcoming zero-pollution action plan. Local solutions in response to the crisis were also presented from across Europe. It was pointed out that more research is needed to assess the link between exposure to air pollution and the possible higher risk of catching the coronavirus. 

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