Health impacts of air pollution breakfast meeting
HEAL co-organised a breakfast briefing in the European Parliament on the health impacts of cross-border air pollution and the need for efficient regulation.
HEAL together with Transport and Environment (T&E), the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), and Clean Air brought together policy experts on air quality to discuss the problem of transboundary air pollution in Europe and the economic costs to society. The event was hosted by MEP Seb Dance (right).
Presentations focused on the science on health effects of air pollution, the current situation in the EU, the benefits to the health of European citizens by reducing air pollution and what can EU policy makers do to reduce the health impacts and costs of air pollution.
WHO Europe’s Roberto Bertollini highlighted the fact that air pollution is a leading cause of death and disease and we are constantly discovering new evidence about the negative impacts of air pollution on our bodies. He focused also on improvements that could be made in the EU to improve air quality, including the implementation of the EU Clean Air Package as well as additional technical measures that could further reduce the loss of life expectancy.
The EU Commission presented how to address transboundary air pollution through various EU policies and mechanisms and the situation of today’s air quality in Europe. To reach compliance with existing air quality standards, there should be a full implementation of existing EU and national air quality policies, including the NEC Directive and enhance support to rebuild national and local air quality management capabilities. In terms of economic costs, the Commission added that there is no evidence to date that policies to clean up air have reduced economic growth.
HEAL’s Anne Stauffer (left) welcomed on behalf of the many health and environmental organisations in Europe that negotiations on NEC would continue and that there would be no delay. In the next months, MEPs have a unique opportunity to set the EU on track for better air quality. Anne urged MEPs to raise the ambition level of the draft NEC law; include all relevant pollutants and sources in pollution reduction efforts and ensure coherence to other EU air policies.
At the meeting, info graphics on cross-border pollution and the impact of particulate matter (PM2.5) on health and the economy were launched by EEB (see photo above)
Originally posted on 12 February 2015