The European Parliament approved last week a new law that establishes new air pollution limits in the European Union (EU). The text, approved with 363 votes in favor, 226 against, and 46 abstentions, emphasises the need to align EU regulations with the latest Air Quality Guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The main objective of this new law is to improve air quality in the EU, aiming for zero pollution by 2050, in addition to ensuring a cleaner and healthier environment for the European population. MEPs have set stricter limit values and objectives for 2035.
Improving air quality to reduce pollution
The European Parliament warns that, according to data provided by the European Environment Agency (EEA), the objectives will be more stringent for pollutants that are more harmful to air quality.
To achieve this, they insist that it is essential to align with WHO guidelines by 2050 and gradually tighten air pollution limits for member states if we want to achieve zero pollution by 2050.
What proposals does the text of this new law include?
One of the key points proposed by MEPs in the new text is to increase the number of points for air quality analysis. In cities with higher population density, it is proposed to have a main monitoring station for every two million people (the Commission proposed one for every ten million).
Legislators point out that air quality indices must be easy to understand and publicly available to all citizens. They also add that the text should include specific information about pollution peaks, symptoms, and health risks, especially for vulnerable population groups.
All EU member states must have an air quality roadmap containing short and long-term measures they will implement to reduce pollution and improve air quality in each country within the European Union.