Most member states are failing to protect citizens from toxic air
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Most member states are failing to protect citizens from toxic air

Nearly all member states must step up their effort to cut air pollution and ensure citizens can breathe clean air, states the European Commission in a new assessment published today.

The report on the implementation of the National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive shows most countries risk missing their 2020 commitments, and the picture for 2030 targets is even worse.

The National Emission Ceilings Directive, which entered into force in 2016, legally requires governments to reduce emissions of harmful pollutants, setting binding reduction targets by 2020 and 2030. Member states are also required to detail the measures they plan to take to achieve these objectives, by submitting their National Air Pollution Control Programmes.

Margherita Tolotto, Policy Officer for Air and Noise at the European Environmental Bureau, said:

“The European Commission report confirmed what was already clear: when it comes to protecting us and the environment from harmful air pollution, our governments are not doing their job”.

Eight member states failed to submit the required data in time to be considered for the assessment. For the remaining 20 countries, the Commission concluded that 14 member states are at high-risk of non-compliance with the reduction target for ammonia in 2020. Ammonia is a major driver of particulate matter, one of the most dangerous forms of air pollution. 92% of ammonia in the EU is emitted by agriculture.

As for the 2030 commitments, the Commission reports an even gloomier picture, with more than half of the member states analysed risking to miss emission reduction commitments for all Directive (EU) 2016/2284 pollutants except SO2.

Tolotto said:

“How can our governments keep denying citizens’ right to clean air? What story will they tell their citizens? Cutting air pollution at source is urgent and necessary to save lives, protect our environment, contrast climate breakdown, and is also good for our economies. We call on the European Commission to keep member states accountable”.

About the EEB
The EEB is Europe’s largest network of environmental citizens’ groups with 160 members in more than 35 countries. Together with DUH, FNE and the Lake Constance Foundation, the EEB has launched the ‘Clean Air Farming‘ project to help reduce ammonia and methane emissions from agriculture.

About Clean Air Farming
The Project Clean Air Farming (LIFE17 GIE/DE/610 Air & Agriculture) is co-financed by the LIFE-Programme of the European Commission.

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