15 milion spaniards are breathing air the the EU considers polluted.

More than half of Spain is wreathed in air containing excessive levels of particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and ozone.

A pedestrian in Toledo is breathing polluted air from a traffic jam in Madrid’s Gran Vía avenue. And in the Sierra Norte, outside of Madrid, hundreds of people from the capital spend their weekends thinking they are enjoying fresh air without realizing it was one of the most polluted areas in Spain last year.

Meanwhile, other rural areas such as the Plain of Vic in Catalonia and villages like Villanueva del Arzobispo in Jaén, in Andalusia, have levels of contamination that break EU air quality regulations.

These are just a few of the pollution paradoxes that are adversely affecting the health of at least 15 million people in Spain, according to EL PAÍS estimates. The most severely affected areas are Madrid and Barcelona but the regions of Andalusia, Extremadura, Castilla-La Mancha and Valencia are also battling with high-risk levels.

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