EU action on environment

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Our health is influenced by a variety of factors, but environment pollutants influence around 25 to 33% of these problems.

Air pollutants have caused very poor air quality in many parts of Europe.

Air pollution doesn’t just damage health; it also disrupts ecosystems and crops and damages buildings and monuments.

Daily concentrations in most of Europe still exceed the EU target value.



Current ozone air-quality standards focus on minimising the number of days with high peak concentrations. Policies that result in sustained reductions in ozone concentration lead to larger public health benefits when compared with emergency policies aiming to prevent a few extreme peaks. For these reasons, scientists are calling for regulations and policies that reduce ozone levels throughout the summer.

Read the EU Focus on Clean Air document

 Key fact: Sulphur oxide emissions, which are largely from public electricity and heat production, have decreased by almost 70% since 1990 across EU member states.


The 6th Environmental Action Plan (EAP)

The EU adopted, in 2002, the 6th Environmental Action Plan (EAP). This environmental strategy outlines the priorities for action on the environment in the coming years. The plan, which concludes in 2012, sets up four main priority areas for action:

* Climate change
* Nature and bio-diversity
* Environment and health
* Sustainable use of natural resources and waste
It also seeks ways to involve citizens and relevant stakeholders in the process of policy making and to make decisions on the basis of sound science.

Seven thematic EU strategies

To tackle more specific environmental problems in the most cost-effective way, the EU have also adopted seven thematic strategies:

1. Air pollution
2. Prevention and recycling of waste
3. Protection and conservation of the marine environment
4. Soil
5. Sustainable use of pesticides
6. Sustainable use of resources
7. Urban environment

Each strategy will be founded on thorough research and science, and will set clear environmental objectives to be achieved by 2020.


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