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Towards Cleaner Air – new report on transboundary air pollution

News 2016-06-15 at 9:14
Cleaner air

SYKE experts have taken part in compiling the new UNECE report on transboundary air pollution. Emissions have declined in Europe and North America, thanks to effective pollution measures. In Europe average life expectancy has risen by one year and soil acidification has been halted. Declining acidification in lakes has led to fish stocks recovering.

Despite successes problems still exist. A significant proportion of the urban population in Europe and North America is exposed to concentrations of fine particles and ozone that are near or above the WHO guideline level. Nitrogen level in soils and lakes is still high in many parts in Europe. Long-term risks due to ozone, heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants continue to exist in many countries.

Because transboundary sources are often major contributors to urban pollution, many European cities will be unable to meet WHO guideline levels for air pollutants through local action alone. Even national and Europe-wide action may not be enough in some cases.

Air pollution control costs are generally significantly lower than the costs of damage to health and the environment. In many countries the net impact of abatement measures on national income and employment will be neutral because production of the technologies required will also create employment.

An integrated approach to climate change and air pollution could lead to significant co-benefits, as well as to reducing the risk of applying climate change measures with significant negative impacts on air quality.

Towards Cleaner Air- report was prepared at the request of the Executive Body of the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP). It was a key deliverable at the recent Eighth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference in Batumi, Georgia 8-10 June.

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