The ELHG calls for stricter air quality standards

The European Parliament and the Council should put health at the centre of the negotiations concerning the EU Air Quality Directives.

On 28 March, the European Lung Health Group (ELHG), a group that represents 179 member associations and aims to improve respiratory health care by increased patient participation and better prevention, published its policy briefingImproving lung health in the EU with renewed Air Quality Directives’.

It has been scientifically proven that exposure to air pollution is linked to fatal respiratory diseases and reduced lung function and that it negatively affects overall quality of life. The aim of the policy brief is to push for stricter air quality standards in the EU Air Quality Directive. This will contribute not only to better lung health protection, but also to the ‘zero pollution ambition’ of the EU Green Deal.

The ELHG points towards improving lung health indicators, providing tools for citizens so that they can reduce their exposure to air pollution, and increasing the polluters’ accountability. To achieve these goals, the Group calls to:

  1. Fully align the EU air quality standards with the 2021 WHO Air Quality Guidelines, no later than 2030.
  2. Have a mechanism which will enable the review of scientific evidence of the health impacts of air pollution and provide quick air quality standards updates.
  3. Improve air pollution monitoring scope, so that health effects can be taken more into consideration.
  4. Enable easy access to justice for citizens, as well as compensation for health damages, more penalties for polluters and quick litigation
  5. Harmonise the national Air Quality Indices (AQIs) and the adoption of information thresholds for all pollutants.

Read the full policy brief