EU agrees on stricter air pollution limits

World Wednesday 21/February/2024 14:24 PM
By: DW
EU agrees on stricter air pollution limits

Brussels: Negotiators from the European Parliament and EU member states have reached a provisional agreement to reduce air pollution in the European Union, with a goal of eliminating it by 2050.

New upper limits for particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), among other pollutants, were agreed upon, according to the parliament.

The Belgian EU Council Presidency confirmed the agreement.

The new rules — which will come into effect after formal adoption by the Council and the European Parliament — would establish stricter air quality standards, with comparable rates in all 27 member nations of the bloc.

They also cover access to justice and the right to compensation for damage caused by pollution.
Thousands of deaths linked to air pollution

According to data, there were about 253,000 deaths in the EU in 2021 related to particulate matter levels above the recommended limits set by the World Health Organization.

Under the new EU rules, the 2030 limit values for certain particulate matter and SO2 are to be slashed by half.

Air quality standards will be reviewed by December 31, 2030 and at least every five years after that.

The frequency will increase if new scientific findings emerge.

The EU countries will also have to create air quality roadmaps by December 31, 2028 setting out short and long-term steps to meet the new limit values for 2030.

Member states can request the 2030 deadline to be postponed by up to 10 years, if specific criteria are met and under strict conditions.

The new rules are intended to chart the course for the European Commission's action plan for zero pollutants in air, water and soil, which was unveiled in 2021.