Most European Union Countries Falling Short on Pollution Limits


According to auditors of the bloc, European Union governments are failing to comply with air quality limits, that are weaker than the World Health Organization’s recommendations. Currently, 23 out of the bloc 28-nations fail to comply with existing limits on pollutants such as nitrogen oxide and particulate matter.

In a separate Supreme Audit Office (NIK) report on Tuesday, Poland has some of the worst air quality in Europe. Cities in the south are known to have denser smog than New Delhi or Beijing, mostly due to citizens burning low quality coal and rubbish to heat their houses.

Failure to meet air quality limit has considerable impacts on public health. Respiratory illnesses caused by pollution result in over 400,000 premature deaths a year, increasing government health care expenses, the European Court of Auditors found. Over 44,000 of these deaths occur in Poland, according to the European Environment Agency. The Polish energy minister has downplayed the issue of smog before, saying that pollution does not cause premature death.

Although Poland has taken steps to improve air quality, environmentalists said their solutions have many loopholes, and have criticized the energy and environmental ministry for failing to adequate steps.

Poland hosts United Nations climate talks in December, with around 200 government environment ministers meeting to discuss details from the 2015 Paris climate accord.

According to the European Commission, in May, it would sue Britain, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Romania at the bloc’s highest court for failing to follow rules on air pollution.

[via reuters reuters]

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