Ozone forms when emissions from fossil fuels and other human-made pollutants, such as cars, react to the presence of sunlight. It is a major greenhouse gas and a component of urban smog, which harms human health and inhibits photosynthesis in plants.
Risk for the health
“The potential impacts of very strong ozone pollution on human health can be considerable, both in terms of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases”, explains Mark Parrington, scientist of the Atmosphere Monitoring Service at Copernicus.
According to him, high levels of surface ozone can cause sore throats, coughs, headaches and an increased risk of asthma attacks.
Ozone is also a major concern for agricultural regions and food security. Scientists have already detected “extremely high surface ozone pollution” across western and southern Europe.