Ten EU countries violate air emission limits, watchdog says

Ten EU nations, including economic heavyweight Germany, failed to reduce air pollution under agreed levels in 2014, the bloc's environment watchdog said Friday.

Agriculture and road transport were the main sectors linked to the emissions of the polluting compounds, the European Environment Agency (EEA) said.

It cited preliminary data for 2014, the most recent year covered in the survey, and final data for 2010 to 2013.

The pollutants measured were nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, ammonia, and non-methane volatile organic compounds that comprise chemical groups such as alcohols, aldehydes, alkanes and aromatics. They are sometimes used as solvents or in paints and varnishes.

Nitrogen dioxide, a harmful component of nitrogen oxide, can cause respiratory conditions and cardiovascular disease.

The 28-nation bloc as an entity "did not exceed its aggregated emission ceilings for any of the four air pollutants in 2014," the Copenhagen-based EEA said.

Germany was the only country to exceed three out of four emission ceilings agreed in 2010 under the EU's National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive, the report said.

In addition to nitrogen oxides and ammonia, Germany's emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds were also too high, the EEA said.

The other nine countries that exceeded emission levels for at least one pollutant compound were Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland,  France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Spain.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49
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