EU Auditors hit out at ‘very slow progress’ on reducing air pollutants from agriculture
EU action to protect human health from air pollution has not delivered its expected impact, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors.
In terms of Agriculture it noted that the sector accounts for 94pc of ammonia (NH3) emissions in the EU. Ammonia is a precursor of Particulate matter (PM).
It said the European Environment Agency (EEA) indicates that NH3 emissions from agriculture contribute to episodes of high PM concentrations experienced across certain regions of Europe that breach limit values in EU regulations.
The Auditors said although EU policies regulate agricultural practices, progress on reducing air pollutants from agriculture has been very slow and since 2012, NH3 emissions have even increased.
It also said that despite the existence of technically and economically viable measures such as agronomic, livestock or energy measures, they have yet to be adopted at the scale and intensity necessary to deliver significant emission reductions.
Every year, air pollution causes about 400,000 premature deaths in the EU and hundreds of billions of euros in health-related external costs.
However, these significant human and economic costs have not yet been reflected in adequate action across the Union, warn the auditors.
They add that particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and ground level ozone are the air pollutants responsible for most of the early deaths and that people in urban areas are particularly exposed.