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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Commission proposes clean air strategy to protect human health and the environment

Health, Environment,

News The European Commission today proposed an ambitious strategy for achieving further significant improvements in air quality across Europe. The Thematic Strategy on air pollution aims by 2020 to cut the annual number of premature deaths from air pollution-related diseases by almost 40% from the 2000 level. It also aims to substantially reduce the area of forests and other ecosystems suffering damage from airborne pollutants.

While covering all major air pollutants, the Strategy pays special attention to fine dust, also known as particulates, and ground-level ozone pollution because these pose the greatest danger to human health. Under the Strategy the Commission is proposing to start regulating fine airborne particulates, known as PM2.5, which penetrate deep into human lungs. The Commission also proposes to streamline air quality legislation by merging existing legal instruments into a single Ambient Air Quality Directive, a move that will contribute to Better Regulation. It is estimated that the Strategy will deliver health benefits worth at least €42 billion per year through fewer premature deaths, less sickness, fewer hospital admissions, improved labour productivity etc. This is more than five times higher than the cost of implementing the Strategy, which is estimated at around €7.1 billion per annum, or about 0.05% of EU-25 GDP in 2020.

Source :  EC Press release


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