Air pollution alarm: EU issues 'final warnings' to five countries

| Updated: Feb 16, 2017 10:39 IST

Washington D.C. [U.S.] Feb. 16 (ANI): Following failure in addressing recurring breaches of air pollution limits for nitrogen dioxide, the European Union has issued "final warnings" to Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Britain in the matter. Nitrogen dioxide pollution, much of it caused by road traffic, represents a serious health risk. More than 400,000 EU citizens die prematurely each year because of overall poor air quality, the European Commission said. Quoting a statement from the Commission, the CNN reports that the EU rules set clear pollution limits and obliged member countries to protect citizens from harmful air pollutants. If Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Britain fail to respond satisfactorily to the warning within two months, the Commission could take the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union. "While it is up to the Member State authorities to choose the appropriate measures to address exceeding NO2 limits, much more effort is necessary at local, regional and national levels to meet the obligations of EU rules and safeguard public health," the Commission said. Meanwhile, final warnings could also be issued to Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland and Portugal in the coming months if they don't respond satisfactorily to notice of infringements. Nitrogen dioxide pollution caused almost 70,000 premature deaths in Europe in 2013, according to the European Commission statement. This was almost three times as many deaths as occurred in road accidents in the same year, it said. (ANI)