EU deal on improved air quality fails to align with WHO standards

"EU institutions came to an agreement on the evening of Tuesday (20 February) on the revised rules for ambient air quality as part of the Zero Pollution Action Plan, aiming for zero pollution in air, water and soil by 2050.

At the core of the agreement are lower limits for a range of pollutants, including the ones causing the most harm to human health, fine particulate matter (PM2,5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

It also includes more air quality sampling points in European cities, a demand for the European Commission to review the rules again by 2030, and the opportunity for citizens to seek compensation if their health is damaged due to the violation of the new rules.


While the agreement slashes the values for PM2,5 from 25 µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter) to 10 µg/m3 and for NO2 from 40 µg/m3 to 20 µg/m3, this fails to align with the most recent World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations from 2021. Here, they advise to not exceed 5 μg/m3 for PM2,5 and 10 μg/m3 for NO2."

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