EU executive calls legislative moves to weaken anti-pollution proposals unacceptable
ap del 26.09.2006
29 settembre, 2006
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ The EU executive on Tuesday said that legislative moves to water down its plans to tackle air pollution were unacceptable. «Air pollution is shortening the life of every EU citizen by an average of eight months and we need to tackle it vigorously,» said EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. He said that the pollution from fine particles floating in the air contributed to the death of some 350,000 Europeans each year. His proposals, which still have to go through a long approval process, would cost industry and governments ¤7.1 billion (US$8.6 billion) a year to implement. They would center on restrictions or limits on everything from car emissions to pesticides. The EU parliament on Tuesday recommended easing some restrictions on key pollutants. Dimas complained the parliament's amendments would give industry beyond a 2010 deadline to comply with new limits for coarse particles floating in the air. He said it would also allow industry to exceed the limit for almost twice as long, from 35 days to 55 per year. «People will be exposed to excessive pollution levels _ and will therefore be running avoidable health risks _ for a longer period. We cannot accept the Parliament's proposal for extensions of more than five years,» he said in a statement. Together with another amendment it would immediately affect people who are most at risk from air pollution. «This too is unacceptable,» he said. Dimas got full support from the Greens at the EU legislature. «It is a scandal that the Parliament has voted to weaken the existing air quality rules in Europe despite clear evidence of the severe health consequences of air pollution,» said MEP Satu Hassi.