THE GREENS/EFA IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
PRESS RELEASE – Strasbourg, 23 October 2006
Air quality directive
– Weak EU air pollution rules fall short of WHO recommendations
Commenting on the political agreement on the EU Air Quality Directive, reached by Environment ministers today, Finnish Green MEP and vice-chair of the Environment Committee Satu Hassi said:
“We are in the rare position where the Council has adopted a more robust position on environmental legislation than that proposed by the European Parliament and that is to be welcomed. However, that will be of little comfort to those who will continue to suffer from lethal air pollution in Europe because the EU has decided to ignore expert advice.
“With more than 350,000 premature deaths in Europe each year as a result of air pollution, resulting in health costs of up to 9% of EU25 GDP, it is disturbing that the EU is willing to ‘compromise’ the health of its citizens.
“The pollution limits in the proposed revision fall far short of the limit values recommended by the World Health Organisation for the key pollutant PM10 (particulate matter 10) (1). For the pollutant PM2.5, Californian and even US federal air quality rules require limit values that are more than twice as strict as those being recommended by the EP (2).”
(1) The WHO has recommended a daily limit value of 50µg of PM10 with 3 days on which this can be exceeded, with an annual limit of 20µg. The agreement adopted by environment ministers would maintain the existing annual limit of 40µg and allow for the limit to be exceeded on 35 days.
(2) California air quality laws require a PM2.5 limit value of 12µg since 2003, while the Council set a limit value of 25µg and only from 2015.