THE GOAL – CLEAN AIR FOR ALL
Air pollution is a huge issue. After Climate Change, it is the number one environmental concern of EU citizens. It is also the number one environmental cause of early death in the EU – of more than 400 000 each year. This impacts people living in cities the most. From asthma and heart disease to lung cancer, poor air quality has triggered chronic health conditions in millions of Europeans. And it’s a heavy economic burden - costing us well over €20 billion a year.
The European Commission will host a major Air Quality event in Paris on 16-17 November 2017.
The Clean Air Forum will raise the air pollution issues on the international stage, bring together experts, stakeholders and decision-makers to share knowledge and discuss successful solutions. This year's Clean Air Forum will focus on three topics: air quality in cities, agriculture and air quality, and clean air business opportunities.
THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION HAS LED THE WAY IN THE FIGHT FOR BETTER AIR QUALITY
EU clean air policies have done much to reduce air pollutants and help ensure our air is healthy to breathe - but it’s clear that more action is needed.
EU rules on the maximum levels of air pollutants have been in place for more than two decades – and yet 130 European cities struggle to meet current air quality standards.
There are 30 infringement cases ongoing against 20 out of 28 Member States for excessive levels of at least one of three pollutants (particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, and sulphur dioxide).
THE EU IS BRINGING EUROPEANS TOGETHER TO MAKE CLEAN AIR SOLUTIONS COMMONPLACE
There are a range of measures to improve air quality. From agriculture and industry to energy, road transport and household heating, air pollution’s causes are multiple. Tackling it requires cooperation across economic sectors and decision-making levels.
Ways to lower pollution – which also speed up the transition to a low carbon economy – include: reducing traffic and fuel consumption, switching to electric cars, greening public transport and setting up extensive cycling networks. One of the most effective solutions is cutting emissions from diesel engines.
In addition, air quality can be improved by cleaning-up industrial processes, cutting ammonia emissions through closed manure storage, switching to district heating using heat from industry or renewable energy, and improving energy efficiency in buildings.
HOW ELSE IS THE EU HELPING?
Moreover, there is dedicated EU funding to help improve the air quality across the continent, for example through the LIFE programme, which support environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects throughout the EU.
WHAT IS THE EU SAYING?
“Too many people are breathing air that can harm their health. This causes an immense strain on our health systems and affects our productivity levels at work. We have set air quality standards, and we need to make sure these are met across the EU to improve the health of our citizens. Full implementation of EU clean air rules will reduce the number of premature deaths by close to 50 % by 2030,” said Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.