Car on foggy forest road

European governments are failing to tackle air pollution fast enough – new figures

Governments across Europe are showing a lack of commitment to address air pollution as levels continue to exceed EU legal limits and the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, according to a new report out today.

The European Environment Agency’s (EEA), Air Quality in Europe – 2018 Report, reveals that air pollution still poses a danger to human health and the environment all across Europe.

Responding to the report, ClientEarth lawyer Ugo Taddei said: “It is unacceptable that the vast majority of EU member states are still failing to comply with binding legal limits introduced years ago almost 20 years ago. Road transport emissions remain one of the most harmful sources of air pollution in cities.

“Yet, European governments have shown an embarrassing reluctance to put the interests of their citizens before those of the discredited car industry, even when pollution is dangerously high, and manufacturers have manifestly done wrong.

“The report shows that despite some improvements, governments throughout Europe are clearly not moving quickly enough to tackle this issue. We need to see far more urgent and ambitious action from authorities at all levels and across all European countries to protect people from the harmful impacts of air pollution.”

In the EU as a whole, the Agency estimated that 75% of the EU urban population was exposed to concentrations of PM2.5 exceeding the WHO guidelines in 2016. Exposure to PM2.5 caused an estimated equivalent impact of 391,000 premature deaths in the EU in 2015.


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Danis Lou