NGO files EU complaint over air pollution in Spain

Madrid air pollution at its worst, in 2008. Photo: Sergio Cambelo via Flickr
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• Ecologistas en Acción says Spain negligent over widespread high ozone levels
• 1,800 premature deaths linked to dangerous ozone levels in 12 of 17 regions

The national federation of Spanish non-govermental environmental organisations, Ecologistas en Acción (Ecologists in Action), has filed a formal complaint with the European Commission in Brussels against the Spanish government and its Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment, plus 12 of the country’s autonomous regions for failure to develop air-quality programmes aimed at lowering contamination levels in dozens of communities around the country where ozone levels regularly supersede levels mandated under Spanish and European law.

According to Ecologistas en Acción, the governments and agencies named are responsible for a failure to address dangerously high ozone levels in 47 local areas across 12 of Spain’s autonomous communities — including Andalusia, Aragon, the Balearic Islands, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla-Leon, Catalonia, the Valencian Community, Extremadura, Madrid, Murcia, Navarre and the Basque Country — in which estimated 21.4 million people or nearly half the entire Spanish population resides. The organisation attributes as many as 1,800 premature deaths to high ozone levels in those areas during the years 2013-15, the three-year period covered in the complaint.

In the complaint filed last week, the NGO noted that while the high levels of air pollution caused by vehicular traffic in Madrid remain a serious issue, of increasing concern is the amount of contamination produced along Spain’s Mediterranean coastline, in a broad swath of communities that extends from Girona in Catalonia to the north, southward through the Valencian Community and the adjacent Balearic Islands and reaching as far south as Almeria in Andalusia.

► Read More in Spanish at EFE Verde, Europa Press or La Marea …

► Read the Complaint to the EU in Spanish at the Ecologistas website, here …

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