News
12 November 2020
Asthma , COPD
- Air Quality

Clean air is central to human health and essential to the wellbeing and quality of life for people with allergies and airways diseases.

In 2021, the European Commission will adopt the action plan “Towards a Zero Pollution Ambition for air, water and soil – building a Healthier Planet for Healthier People”. To prepare this important file, the Commission published in October a roadmap for the action plan, seeking public feedback from stakeholders such as EFA.

In our feedback to the Commission, EFA welcomes the roadmap as an all-encompassing initiative that goes beyond solely the environment, and addresses the social, economic, and health aspects. We believe that the Zero Air Pollution Action Plan can become the much needed framework to ensure consistency across all EU policies which tackle air pollution. It will help address the links between the environment and climate change, with health, and plan actions to improve air quality everywhere.

In the views of EFA, the framework should:

  • Align with up-to-date scientific advice on air quality to preserve good health;
  • Meet international agreements the EU has committed to, especially the Paris Agreement;
  • Set stricter emission limits for the energy, industry, transport, agriculture and farming, waste and buildings sector;
  • Include climate change consequences which affect air quality i.e. temperature, humidity and pollen;
  • Commit to tackle air pollution both indoors and outdoors.

Reducing air pollution is not only essential to act on climate change, but to also improve overall health and well-being. Air pollution is responsible for 400,000 premature deaths each year in the EU. It has also been recorded as increasing risk of developing childhood asthma, and can lead to the development and worsening of allergy, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). During the COVID-19 pandemic, air pollution in urban spaces has also been linked to increased mortality rates from the virus.

According to a 2019 European survey, more than 50% of asthma and COPD patients feel that policy-makers are not doing enough to promote air quality information. EFA views the current legislative framework on air pollution as a patchwork of emission levels by sector. The Zero Air Pollution Activity Plan has the potential to implement a holistic approach to ensure air quality and reduce emissions for the health of people and the planet.

The current aim of the Zero Pollution Action Plan is to secure a healthy living environment for all, as well as healthy ecosystems in Europe. Its goals are:

  • To prevent and tackle air, water, soil and consumer products pollution;
  • Integrate zero air pollution initiatives into all EU policy developments;
  • Decouple economic growth from pollution increase – this means that economic growth will not be connected to initiatives and innovation that cause air pollution;
  • Strengthen wellbeing and livelihoods with environmental protection and sustainable development.

You can read EFA’s full response to the roadmap here.

Dear Visitor,

for regularly updated information on Covid-19 for allergy and respiratory patients, please consult our Covid-19 resource and information hub.
Stay safe!
The EFA Team