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article imageCall for tougher air pollution limits

By Tim Sandle     Jul 26, 2015 in Environment
Brussels - Air pollution is linked to some 400,000 premature deaths throughout Europe each year, according to a new study. This has led to calls for tighter limits on allowable levels of air polluting substances.
Members of the European Parliament, according to a research note, have called for tougher national caps on emissions of six main pollutants. These would apply to each member country within the European Union. The pollutants include sulphur dioxide, particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. With these pollutants, coal and petroleum often contain sulfur compounds; nitrogen dioxide is expelled from high-temperature combustion; and burning of fossil fuels in vehicles, power plants and various industrial processes lead to a rise in airborne particulates.
In calling for tougher limits, the parliamentarians aim to lower emissions by 70 percent across the European Union. The parliament also thinks the move will save money as well, reducing the health costs associated with tackling air pollution by €40 billion by 2030.
The main obstacle to this is the European Commission, made up of representatives of nation states. Within the European Union, far more power rests with member state government officials than it does with directly elected representatives.
In related news, a separate European Union report has made the link between long-term exposure to aircraft emissions and premature death. The new study examinations emissions at local (within 1 kilometer), near to an airport (within 10 kilometers), regional (within 1000 kilometers) and global (within 10 000 kilometers) scales, in relation to populations living close to airports. Across these factors, airport emissions are connected to 16,000 premature deaths throughout Europe each year.
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