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European Parliament takes significant step towards improving air quality, under S&D leadership


27 Jun 2023


Climate & Environment

Today, the European Parliament's committee on the environment, public health and food safety (ENVI) greenlighted an S&D-led report on the Air Quality Directive.

Under the European Green Deal, the EU has set an objective to reduce air pollution to levels no longer considered harmful to health and natural ecosystems, aiming for a zero-pollution target for air by 2050.

Air pollution continues to pose a significant threat to humans – it is the greatest environmental threat to health and a leading cause of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart attacks and strokes. According to the European Environment Agency, in 2020, air pollution in the European Union caused over 300,000 premature deaths.

The S&Ds have worked tirelessly to increase the ambition of the Commission's proposal. They have accomplished this by ensuring that the legally binding Union air quality standards align with the World Health Organisation's most recent guidelines on thresholds and limits for key air pollutants that pose health risks. These guidelines are based on the latest scientific evidence on air pollution’s health impacts and serve as a global target for national, regional and local authorities to work towards improving their citizens’ health by reducing air pollution.

Javi López, S&D MEP and the European Parliament's Chief Negotiator on the file, said:

“Today's greenlighting of the report on the Air Quality Directive by the European Parliament's environment committee marks a significant step towards cleaner and healthier air for all Europeans.

“An alarming 300,000 premature deaths in the European Union caused in 2020 by air pollution highlight the urgent need for action. By aligning our report with the latest guidelines of the World Health Organisation, we aim to provide better protection against air pollution.

“It is crucial that we prioritise the well-being of our citizens and shield them from the harmful effects of air pollution. However, the target of achieving zero pollution by 2050 is too distant. Therefore, we must implement drastic cuts in pollutant emissions earlier, considering the growing number of victims affected by air pollution.”



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