Real-time information on allergenic pollen in the EU is not covered by EU legislation
It is estimated that more than 24 % adults (80 million) and up to 40 % children in Europe are suffering from various allergies triggered and aggravated in large measure by airborne allergenic pollens. However, in contrast to air pollutants, there is no obligation to monitor the pollen situation in the European Union and the European Commission has no intention to make such a monitoring mandatory.
Following the written question on pollen levels monitoring asked by Italian MEP Andrea Zanoni (ALDE) in February 2013, Commissioner for Environment Janez Potocnik stated that the Commission has no plans to widen EU air quality policy in order to account for pollen monitoring, information dissemination and financing of such activities. “The European Commission is not planning on addressing the monitoring of pollen or the dissemination of information of pollen levels to the public and health care professionals in the Clean Air For Europe Programme,” the Commissioner for Environment answered.
The reason behind it is, according to Commissioner Potocnik, that environmental protection legislation excludes pollen emissions because they are not man-made and hence cannot be reduced by Member State action (read the Commission’s reply here).
In many Member States pollen level monitoring and reporting is based solely on voluntary work and receives no financial support from governments. Even though real-time information on allergenic pollen might help people with respiratory diseases travelling around Europe to easily take preventive measures, the Commission has not been able to identify any current funding programme that would fit the scope of pollen monitoring and information dissemination.
In an increasingly integrated Europe, real-time pollen monitoring is of great importance. EFA finds it crucial for people with allergy and asthmato secure continuation of the work and clarification of the funding of pollen information and forecasting. EFA will therefore continue its actions to advocate the necessity of legislative measures that need to be taken on EU level.
For more information check EFA position paper on pollen monitoring in Europe or visit our website.
Information on pollen
The website monitoring pollen in the European Union is currently under construction. To learn more about situation in your country, visit websites of our members and get the real-time information on pollen.
Webinar on ATOPICA project
EFA took part in the first webinar organised in the framework of the ATOPICA project on the 26th of April. The project aims to understand how global and regional climate, land use and air quality changes will impact human health.
Presentations were given on climate change in Europe and how this affects the spread of pollen and, therefore, affects the life of allergic people in Europe. Discussions were then focused on the need to have monitoring systems of pollen throughout Europe.
The project will have a stand in the Green Week, where it will raise the awareness of policy-makers on such an important issue.