Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n° 301

Patients and doctors urge to put EU air quality policy back on the agenda

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 18 dicembre 2014

BruxellesBrussels.The European Commission presented yesterday at the European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg, its 2015 working plan. The new plan withdraws the proposal for the revision of the National Emission Ceilings Directive, a key EU legislative file aimed at regulating air quality by setting maximum emission levels for six main pollutants – PM, SO2, NOx, VOCs, ammonia and methane- that directly affect our health and the environment we live in.European Commission Vice-President Mr. Frans Timmermans announced that the Commission “will bring forward a modified proposal”, but he did not specify its exact timing.Timmermans announcement has dismayed and confused institutions and civil society representatives. Member of the European Parliament Sirpa Pietikäinen (Finland, EPP) reacted: “EU is lagging badly behind from the World Health Organisation recommendations (2) for good air quality. Hundreds of thousands of premature deaths still occur in Europe due to fine particles in the air. It is by no means smart regulation to delay new legislation to improve air quality.”
EFA President Breda Flood declared: “We are shocked at the death sentence imposed by the Commission on EU air quality policies. Air pollution has no boundaries and needs to be regulated at EU level. At this very moment, 9 out of 10 Europeans living in cities are breathing air that is harmful to their health. The majority of EU citizens consider air quality a major concern and expect political action to improve the air we breathe. (3) (4) The Clean Air Package is a paramount piece of legislation to improve this reality, a political tool that could save thousands of lives and protect people living with allergy, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In November, we urged to keep this legislation on the table (4) as we consider that improving current clean air policy now is imperative to ensure that our health will not be compromised in the future. Sustainable economic growth should protect people’s health. Therefore, we encourage the Members of the European Parliament to use their influence to put back on the political agenda air quality legislation for the next year”.EAACI President Nikos Papadopoulos declared: “The decision of the Commission to drop the revision of the National Emission Ceilings Directive is of profound concern, certainly to the medical community, but also to all Europeans. Almost 150 million EU citizens suffer from chronic allergic diseases, of which 70 million of asthma. The Commission move to stop further discussions on this key legislative proposal, equals denying the many allergy and asthma sufferers the perspective of an improved health future.
This approach disregards the huge societal benefits that sound environmental and public health policies are able to deliver to the European citizens. Health is a wealth, and the Commission cannot put short-term economic growth at the expense of people’s health. Only sustainable politics that take health, the major human need, into account, can guarantee a sustainable Europe”.

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