EU brings Slovakia to court over poor air quality

Ministry of the Environment working to rectify the situation

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Echo24, Czech News Agency

The European Commission is bringing Slovakia to the court at the EU level over poor air quality. According to the European Commission, Bratislava did not do enough to ensure that the country does not exceed the permitted limits for airborne dust (PM10).

In response, the Slovak Ministry of the Environment stated that it was already working to rectify the situation, calling the lawsuit the result of previous government neglect.

“Slovakia does not comply with the daily limits for PM10 concentrations, which have been legally binding since 2005,” the European Commission said, adding that the data provided showed “systematic exceeding of daily limits” in the Banská Bystrica region and the Košice agglomeration for most of the 2005 to 2009 period.

Slovakia is not facing litigation for the mere fact that it exceeded the set pollution values, but for not ensuring that the limits were violated just for “the shortest possible time”. The Commission noted that the measures taken so far by the Slovak authorities were neither timely nor effective to reduce pollution below the maximum permitted level.

Slovak Minister of the Environment Ján Budaj called the lawsuit the result of ignoring air protection under previous governments.

“Now we have to take much stronger steps to improve air quality in Slovakia and to avoid exceeding the standards of permissible levels of air pollution,” Budaj said in a press release of the ministry. The current cabinet of the Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovič took office last March.

The ministry stated that it had already completed the preparation of a new law on air protection and changes in the setting of charges for air pollution. It added that projects from the planned EU reconstruction fund should also focus on the area of the largest sources of pollution in the country.

According to the European Commission, air pollution is the most significant environmental risk to the health of the population of the European bloc. The European Environment Agency (EEA) states that poor air quality is responsible for around 400,000 premature deaths in the Union each year.


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