Clean air

The European Commission has proposed a new strategy for achieving significant improvements in air quality across Europe.

By 2020, the so-called Thematic Strategy on air pollution aims to cut the annual number of premature deaths from air pollution-related diseases by almost 40% from the 2000 level.

It also aims to substantially reduce the area of forests and other ecosystems suffering damage from airborne pollutants.

While covering all major air pollutants, the Strategy pays special attention to fine dust, also known as particulates, and ground-level ozone pollution because these pose the greatest danger to human health.

Under the Strategy, the Commission is proposing to start regulating fine airborne particulates which penetrate deep into human lungs.

The Commission also proposes to streamline air quality legislation by merging existing legal instruments into a single Ambient Air Quality Directive.