EU ministers divided on strengthening air quality standards

EU member states are divided over proposals to strengthen air quality standards in line with those set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) ahead of talks on the issue at the Environment Council next week.

A report by the European Environment Agency last year revealed that nearly all of Europe's city dwellers remain exposed to air pollution in excess of WHO limits.

Following an evaluation on whether EU air quality legislation is fit for purpose, the European Commission intends to propose a revision aligning “more closely” current standards with the WHO’s as part if the European Green Deal. At present, standards for certain pollutants differ significantly. The annual EU limit value for fine particles PM2.5 is 25 µg/m3, while it is 10 µg/m3 under the WHO, and the PM10 value is 40 versus 20. 

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