Tuesday September 26, 2023
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European Parliament wants stricter criteria for air and water pollution

The European Parliament has further tightened new bills against environmental pollution. The EU politicians want at least the public health criteria of the World Health Organization WHO to be met for both water and air pollution.

The MEPs thus took more far-reaching positions than those contained in two proposals from the European Commission.

For example, the European Parliament believes that there should be maximum limits for all types of water and soil pollution by PFAS chemicals and glyphosate from agricultural products. It recently emerged that eleven of the twelve EU countries studied contain glyphosate residue in the groundwater. 

The new guidelines for ground and surface water presented last year set quality standards for dozens of hazardous substances. The European Parliament wants to add PFAS as a group of substances.

The European Commission also wants less glyphosate pollution, with strict criteria for drinking water use, but less strict rules for surface waters. Parliament rejects that approach and wants the strictest possible criteria everywhere.

Currently, around 300,000 EU citizens die every year from the effects of air pollution. That number must be drastically reduced and to achieve this, air pollution must first decrease. The European Parliament has therefore determined that stricter limit values and target values will be introduced for many pollutants by 2035. 

The MEPs want to unify fragmented and illogical air quality indices throughout the EU. These must be comparable, clear and publicly available. This way, EU citizens can protect themselves at times when there is a lot of air pollution. 

Now that the European Parliament has taken positions on this, the EU countries must present their position. This is expected to happen in the autumn. The final negotiations between parliament and the EU countries on less soil and air pollution can then start. 


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