วันที่นำเข้าข้อมูล 28 Feb 2024

วันที่ปรับปรุงข้อมูล 28 Feb 2024

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What does the EU do to improve air quality?

       The EU has been tackling the issue of air pollution since the late 1970s. The situation has markedly improved, yet there is more to be done as breaches of air quality standards are still common, especially in urban areas. The current legal framework is based on two Directives (2008/50/EC and 2004/107/EC) setting specific standards – such as limits, targets, and critical levels – for ambient air quality for 13 air pollutants[1] in specified time periods. These Directives set common methods and criteria to assess air quality across the EU, including the installation of a network of monitoring stations and sampling points. Member States, who are in charge of implementing the Directives measures, must produce annual reports for the Commission detailing the results of their air quality assessments, as well as provide information on plans and programmes established. Once Member States identify zones where standards are not being met, they have two years to implement air quality plans and measures to correct the situation.

       The Commission submitted in 2022 a Proposal to merge both Directives and introduce a zero air-pollution objective for 2050. The Proposal foresees by 2030 aligning air quality standards with WHO targets. Revisions to assess alignment with WHO guidelines, as well as to assess whether to include new pollutants, are planned every five years. Further, the Proposal imposes stricter monitoring and reporting obligations and requires Member States to make publicly available an air quality index providing hourly updates for SO2, NO2, PM10, PM2.5 and O3 levels similar to the air quality indices provided by the European Environmental Agency.

       The final text is being negotiated between the Council and EP. While the EP wants stricter limit values by 2035, the Council wants more flexibility in enforcing air quality limits in certain areas – such as those with a high proportion of low-income households.

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[1]These pollutants are SO2, NO2 and NOx, particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), ozone, benzene, lead, CO, arsenic, cadmium, nickel, and benzo(a)pyrene (BaP, a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon).