European air pollution agreement halves mortality rate

On 30 June, the Member States, the European Commission, and the European Parliament signed an agreement regarding a new European Directive to combat further air pollution and ensure cleaner air. The number of early deaths on account of air pollution will be cut by more than half by 2030. This will be achieved by imposing ceilings with respect to substances (such as particulates, nitrogen, and ammonia) that have a considerable impact on human well-being.

Assassin

Ms Dijksma, Minister for the Environment and Chair of the EU Environment Council: "With this agreement, we are going to combat air pollution, an assassin that kills hundreds of thousands every year. This agreement will yield substantial gains in public health, by reducing the emission of certain substances. I am pleased that we have managed to reach this agreement on the final day of the Dutch chairmanship, after prolonged negotiations, for all the residents of Europe!”

Considerable health gains

The new Directive will lead to a reduction in the amount of pollution brought into the air as a result of human activity within the EU. Individual targets will be imposed on the Member States to reduce the emission of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic matter, ammonia, and particulates. The new Directive will set out targets for 2020 and beyond. It also sets out further reduction requirements for 2030. This will considerably improve public health in Europe.

National programme

The Member States will also be required to draw up a national reduction programme in order to ascertain that the agreed targets will be achieved. The European Commission will assess the progress made and can hold Member States to account if they fail to record (sufficient) results.