European Parliament proposes policy toolbox to curb air pollution

An European Parliament resolution adopted on Wednesday sets out proposals to tackle air pollution from transport , agriculture and energy sectors.

The non-binding resolution was adopted with 446 votes in favour to 146 votes against and 79 abstentions. It is urging the European Commission to introduce more stringent standards for PM2.5 particles in EU air quality rules as recommended by the World Health organisation (WHO).

The European Commission should update the Ambient Air Quality directive in line with the current WHO limits for particulate matter, sulphur oxide and ozone levels. It should also step up checks to ensure member states comply with diesel car emissions test procedure standards under EU legislation on type approval of vehicles.

Poor air quality has a significant impact on health. Around 90% of Europeans living in cities are exposed to levels of air pollution deemed damaging to human health. In 2018, 6 member states were referred to the Court of Justice of the European union for failing to comply with EU air quality standards. 29 infringement cases are currently underway in 20 member states for failure to comply with EU air quality limit values and approximately two-thirds of member states are currently in non-compliance with PM10 and NO2 limit values; 1 in 5 exceed the PM2.5 target value.