VILNIUS - The European Commission has proposed to tighten air, water and wastewater pollution controls to cut pollution by at least 2.5 times by 2030. The aim is to give citizens the right to compensation for health damage caused by pollution and to oblige manufacturers to pay for pollution or to produce it in a non-polluting way.
Such amendments to the EU's Ambient Air Quality and Urban Waste Water Treatment Directives were initiated by Virginijus Sinkevicius, the Lithuanian commissioner for the environment, oceans and fisheries.
"We are raising the bar and aiming for a national commitment to reduce pollution from the most polluting elements by at least 2.5 times from now and by 2030," Sinkevicius told BNS as he unveiled the proposed changes in Brussels on Wednesday.
In his words, once these proposals are implemented in the EU, they would reduce air pollution-related deaths by about 80 percent. Air pollution causes about 300,000 deaths year across the EU, including around 2,500 in Lithuania.
The proposal gives EU citizens the right to compensation for pollution-related illnesses and gives more power to the authorities.
"Citizens will have the right to turn to court and seek damages if unenforced air pollution legislation had impact on their deteriorated health. We also want to give more powers to the authorities to apply stricter standards," Sinkevicius said.
In his words, Eurobarometer surveys show the biggest contributors to air pollution in the EU are the industrial sector and state institutions' inaction.
The EC's proposals will be considered by the European Parliament and, if approved, would be implemented gradually by setting separate reduction targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050, with a transition period for countries and businesses also planned.