Europe is generally considered as one of the world leaders in green energy transformation. However, some of its countries still encounter cyclical problems with air pollution. How are its levels distributed around the continent?

The subject of climate change has been widely acknowledged in recent years by world leaders. During the last decades, we have made a big step towards a greener future – however, there is still a lot to be made. The levels of carbon dioxide are getting higher every year. The noticeable growth of interest in solar panels and other forms of renewable energy production is a source of great hope. However, the changes have to be implemented not only on a personal consumer’s level but also on the national one.

​The link between the level of air pollution and emissions of CO2

Without the full energy transformation in the next few decades, the assumptions of the Paris Agreement cannot be fulfilled. The agreement, made within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, focuses on slowing down the pace of climate change by implementing pro-ecological strategies on the national level. They are focused on lowering the emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Air pollution

The side effect of these transformations could be the reduction of air pollution. Both phenomenons are tightly connected – the same sectors are responsible for them. Taking a closer look at a real-time air pollution map, it is also easy to notice that the countries with the worst air quality are also the ones who have not yet made the radical steps into the energy transformation. That said, they still mostly rely on coal.

​Where in Europe the quality of air is the worst?

If you are looking for the most detailed, frequently updated information on the pollution levels, the best is to check the online air pollution map such as However, here you can get an overview of how are the pollution levels distributed across Europe. Even though they change daily, there are noticeable patterns that allow drawing conclusions.

The seasonal distribution of air pollution levels is partially tied to the necessity of heating, as the energy-fuel industry is the most influential in terms of air quality in Europe. During the winter months, noticeable growth can be seen in the countries of the Wysehrad group and the Balkan countries.

However, the Scandinavian countries, where the temperatures can reach extremely low levels in winter, don’t experience the air quality decrease. The reason lies in the differences in energetic policy. While Scandinavian countries have almost completely transformed into green energy, the Balkan and Middle-Eastern ones remain attached to coal.

​Industry and the pollution levels

The air quality also depends on the metallurgic and production industry – for example, Ruhr agglomeration or the Polish region of Silesia are often subject to a high level of air pollution due to industrial activities.

Most of the cities with the worst air quality in Europe are placed in Poland, Bulgaria, and Italy.

For the detailed and updated indexes, it is worth checking the air pollution map such as