Deadly cost of pollution prompts new regulation

The cost of air pollution in Europe is deadly. In 2010, 400,000 Europeans died prematurely as a result of poor air quality, according to a recent report by the European Environmental agency. The cost of such pollution to member countries of the EU is around 23 billion Euros per year. And though these morbid figures aren’t prompting the EU to tell its citizens to stay inside—like the Chinese government did in early December because of its excessive smog—it is setting up EU countries for tighter regulations on air pollution.

A proposal drafted by the European Commission focuses on cutting the national emissions of the 6 main air pollutants in all European member countries, and tightening regulation on mid- level combustion installations at power plants. The proposal is expected to save at least 40 billion Euros and 58,000 lives per year. If the measures proposed by the commission are written into law, they will be in place by 2030. By then, if the figures from 2010 persist, 6.4 million European lives will be lost due to poor air quality.

“The EU is already lagging behind other OECD countries,” says Alan Andrews, a lawyer for Client Earth. “If you look at the standard for PM2.5 [a measure of fine particles in the air] which is the real killer, the U.S. this year tightened their limit to 12 micrograms, ours is still 25 micrograms, with no indication that it is going to get tightened soon.”

The Commission’s proposed regulations are a step in the right direction, but the time frame doesn’t make sense. Holding off on environmental waste reform for 16 years is a recipe for mismanagement and other shortcomings. The documents are currently in front of European governing institutions, but it could be up to three years before the proposal is written into law. If you want more change to happen sooner and faster, contact a member of the European Environmental Agency in the Air and Climate change division.

Photo: Jim Richmond/Flickr

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Deadly cost of pollution prompts new regulation

The cost of air pollution in Europe is deadly. In 2010, 400,000 Europeans died prematurely as a result of poor air quality, according to a recent report by the European Environmental agency. The cost of such pollution to member countries of the EU is around 23 billion Euros per year. And though these morbid figures aren’t prompting the EU to tell its citizens to stay inside—like the Chinese government did in early December because of its excessive smog—it is setting up EU countries for tighter regulations on air pollution.

A proposal drafted by the European Commission focuses on cutting the national emissions of the 6 main air pollutants in all European member countries, and tightening regulation on mid- level combustion installations at power plants. The proposal is expected to save at least 40 billion Euros and 58,000 lives per year. If the measures proposed by the commission are written into law, they will be in place by 2030. By then, if the figures from 2010 persist, 6.4 million European lives will be lost due to poor air quality.

“The EU is already lagging behind other OECD countries,” says Alan Andrews, a lawyer for Client Earth. “If you look at the standard for PM2.5 [a measure of fine particles in the air] which is the real killer, the U.S. this year tightened their limit to 12 micrograms, ours is still 25 micrograms, with no indication that it is going to get tightened soon.”

The Commission’s proposed regulations are a step in the right direction, but the time frame doesn’t make sense. Holding off on environmental waste reform for 16 years is a recipe for mismanagement and other shortcomings. The documents are currently in front of European governing institutions, but it could be up to three years before the proposal is written into law. If you want more change to happen sooner and faster, contact a member of the European Environmental Agency in the Air and Climate change division.

Photo: Jim Richmond/Flickr

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