NGO priorities for the European Year of AirEEB Reactions
As part of a public consultation launched by the European Commission on the review of all EU air policies, 60 environmental, health and citizens NGOs including the EEB urge the European Commission to take ambitious action to address poor air quality in Europe. The 60 NGOs asked the European Commission to propose legislative action based on three key priorities:
• The adoption of ambitious emission reduction commitments in the revised NEC Directive;
• The adoption of sector legislation to cut emissions from all major sources of air pollution;
• The enforcement and strengthening of ambient air quality limit values.
Air pollution remains a major environmental and health problem across the EU. High concentrations of particulate matter (PM) and ozone are most harmful to human health. In urban areas, between 80 and 97% of the population is exposed to levels of pollution which are above the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidelines for health protection . This results in nearly half a million premature deaths in the EU each year , increased hospital admissions, extra expenditure on medication, and millions of lost working days. After many years delay, the European Commission will finally come up with new legislative action during the 2013 Year of Air. The EEB and other 59 NGOs call upon the three EU institutions to come up with an ambitious new legislation on all three priorities and to start working towards this objective as early as possible in 2013.