The EU Clean Air Forum 2017 in Paris concluded with a message “Solutions to improve air quality further are within reach, but to tackle air pollution successfully, we need to work together across economic sectors, across decision-making levels, across policy areas and together with citizens.”
One year later, the European Commission adopted the Communication “A Europe that protects: Clean air for all’ that provides national, regional and local actors practical help to improve air quality in Europe. In addition, in 2013, the Commission had adopted a Clean Air Policy Package, including a Clean Air Programme for Europe setting objectives for 2020 and 2030, and accompanying legislative measures.
In general, in the last years, the European Union is putting increasing effort in improving its legislative framework to reduce national air pollution emissions as well as air pollution from its main sources, and thus improve air quality.
Since the industrial revolution, the quality of the air we breathe has deteriorated considerably. The burning of fossil fuels and biomass, as well as the dramatic rise in traffic in our streets contribute to air pollution in our cities which have now to manage serious problems related to health and the environment. The poor air quality is now the number one environmental cause of premature death in Europe, with over 390 000 premature deaths every year. It impacts on quality of life by causing or exacerbating respiratory problems such as asthma.
As a result of the programmes and initiatives launched as well as the national reduction commitments, much progress has been made in tackling air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, lead, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and benzene. Yet, and despite the progress made to date, poor air quality continues to cause serious and avoidable problems.
The European Commission continues to be committed to this and is organising, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic, a second EU Clean Air Forum on the 28th and 29th November 2019.
This Forum will focus on three themes: air quality and energy; air quality and agriculture; and clean air funding mechanisms. It will bring together decision-makers, stakeholders and experts on the above topics in a two-day conference to reflect on the development and implementation of effective European, national and local air policies, projects and programmes.