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Stricter European air quality standards
By a large majority, the European Parliament has approved stricter goals in the fight against air pollution. “We would have preferred an even higher level of ambition,” says MEP Mark Demesmaeker. “Still, I am pleased that Europe is already taking clear steps towards better air quality. “Currently, an annual estimated 400,000 citizens in the EU die prematurely due to the bad air quality. The new standards, which replace the outdated ones from 2001, are intended to lead to that number being halved.”
From a report by the European Environment Agency it appears that in 2014 no less than 85% of the urban population in the EU was exposed to particulates to an extent that damages health. “The European Member States must either shoulder their responsibilities together, or suffocate together,” says Mark Demesmaeker. He points out that air pollution has no respect for national borders. “Approximately 45 percent of our air pollution originates from our neighbouring countries. Therefore, joint European agreements are needed to structurally deal with this deadly problem.”
Industry also bears a responsibility
In the past few months Mark Demesmaeker has also raked car manufacturers such as Volkswagen and Renault over the coals in the Dieselgate investigation committee, of which he is the vice-president. “Just like the Member States, industry too must shoulder its social responsibility to protect public health and the environment. Respecting effective emission ceilings plays an key role in this,” he concludes.
You can read more details about the new European air quality standards here.