EU failing on pollution limits, auditor warns
By Daphne Psaledakis
BRUSSELS, Sept 11 (Reuters) - EU governments are failing to
comply with air quality limits that are already weaker than the
World Health Organization's recommendations, the bloc's auditors
said on Tuesday.
The findings by European Union's watchdog come as Brussels
is taking half a dozen member states to court over their failure
to enforce the bloc's air quality laws.
Respiratory illness caused by pollution result in some
400,000 premature deaths a year, costing governments heavily in
health care expenses, the European Court of Auditors found.
"There are still considerable impacts on public health,"
said Janusz Wojciechowski, one of the report's authors.
As many as 23 out of the bloc 28-nations are failing to
comply with the existing limits on harmful pollutants such as
nitrogen oxide and particulate matter, according to EU data.
Responding to the report, the EU executive said it was
stepping up action to reduce pollution and defended its policy
record, pointing to improvements in some areas.
"The Commission is fully aware that there is still an urgent
need to further improve air quality in Europe," a European
Commission spokesman said.
The Commission said in May it would sue Britain, France,
Germany, Hungary, Italy and Romania at the bloc's highest court
for breaching rules on air pollutants.
(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis
Editing by Peter Graff)
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