Ahead of the publication of the Ambient Air Quality Directive (AAQD) proposals set to be published by the European Commission on 26 October, the Clean Cities Campaign and an alliance of civil society groups are calling on the EU’s executive leaders for effective, science-based action against air pollution – the most pressing of public health emergencies.
Polluted, dirty air is still a major source of premature death and disease in the EU causing more than 300,000 premature deaths in the EU in 2019 as well as a wide range of illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections. More than 96% of Europe’s urban population is exposed to pollution levels exceeding the WHO guidelines .
The Clean Cities Campaign, together with four other civil society groups (C40 Cities, the European Cyclists’ Federation, the Health and Environment Alliance and Transport & Environment) have voiced their strong support for the upcoming revision of the EU’s Ambient Air Quality Directive  and are calling on the EU to seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to reaffirm Europe’s leadership in clean air policies.
This specifically means fully aligning the EU limit values with the science-based global air quality guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as strengthening the requirements for consistent air pollution monitoring in order to tackle unacceptable levels of premature deaths, illnesses, equity impacts as well as climate damage caused by air pollution.
[1-2] European Environment Agency. (2021). Health impacts of air pollution in Europe, 2021.
[3-4] European Environmental Agency. (2022). Europe’s air quality status ,2022
Directive 2008/50/EC on Ambient Air Quality, abbreviated as AAQD.