Greens urge Commission to act on air pollution: Soaring car emissions are increasing the EU's death
Green MEPs Claude Turmes and Alexander de Roo today urged the European Commission to take urgent action on curbing car emissions which are responsible for a rising death toll among EU citizens.
Claude Turmes MEP (Luxembourg), Vice-President of the Greens/EFA group:
"The rising health risk in Europe caused by motor vehicle pollution requires urgent action. With a rapidly growing number of diesel engines on the road, concentrations of the most hazardous fraction of particulate emissions are on the increase again. These small particles cause a multitude of illnesses such as bronchitis, asthma, and cardio-vascular diseases. A WHO study on Austria, France and Switzerland concluded as long ago as 1999 that up to three per cent of all deaths could be attributed to particulate emissions from road traffic, equating to 2,400 deaths every year in Austria, 17,600 in France and 1,800 in Switzerland."
"A Commission proposal for new EURO-5 emission norms for passenger vehicles is overdue. The limit values for particulate emissions for new cars must be reduced as early as possible to one tenth of those prescribed for 2005 (i.e. to 0.0025 g/km). The technical solutions are already available. More than fifty car models available today on the European market would fulfil these standards and the health benefits clearly outweigh the costs of particulate filters in cars."
"The Commission cannot claim to ensure a high level of human health protection in Europe when undisputed evidence shows that measures to limit particulate emissions from road transport would raise the life expectancy of thousands of European citizens, among them many children who suffer from bronchitis and asthma due to easily avoidable pollution."
Alexander de Roo MEP (The Netherlands), Vice-Chairman of the Environment Committee:
"An equally pressing problem is the growing share of European greenhouse gas emission that CO2 from transport represents. The Commission needs to abandon the voluntary agreement with the car manufacturers and swiftly introduce binding emission limits, in practice requiring more fuel efficient cars. An absolute majority of MEPs voted as long ago as 1997 in favour of a standard for cars to consume less than 3 liters/100 km for 2010. The Commission must act now and make that standard a reality."