Commission consults public on action plan to reduce air pollution
The European Commission is seeking input from the public on the measures to be included in a new comprehensive European action plan to reduce air pollution. This plan, which is due by mid-2005, will have a direct impact on people's lives. The Commission is therefore launching an internet consultation in order to reach the largest possible number of citizens. Starting today, the consultation will run until 31 January 2005 with results to be published by March 2005.
"The facts about the impact of air pollution on the human organism are disturbing, but in order to react properly, we need to understand more about causes and effects. There are things we can do to improve air quality and we have to start now," says Stavros Dimas, Commissioner for the Environment.
Each European citizen is losing about 9 months of life expectancy due to poor air quality. Recent studies show that more than 22,000 premature deaths each year are due to high level of ozone, that there is a reduction in life expectancy of between 3 to 14 months due to particulate pollution, that 23 % of European forests are endangered by excess of acid rain and that 63% of the European ecosystems are endangered by excessive nitrogen deposition.
Even if some impressive progress has been made in the past to reduce air pollutant emissions, there is still need and room for improvement. Future exhaust emission standards for cars, new ways of promoting clean transport, future air quality limit values, new reduction objectives per country or per sector, future targets for public health and environment - all these aspects and more will be included in the action plan. The consultation will ask questions like: In your opinion, what is the quality of the air in your neighbourhood? Is it important to further reduce air pollution? How much more should we do in the coming 15 years? What policies should we pursue to reduce air pollution? What are you as an individual prepared to do to improve air quality?
How to participate in the public consultation?
The questionnaire is available via the following link:
- The CAFE ("Clean Air for Europe") web site include most of the recent studies on air quality: http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/air/cafe/index.htm