Government to continue drafting air pollution strategy

EU

Hungaryʼs government will continue implementing measures designed to reduce particulate matter in the air, as well as preparing a new strategy to better manage such pollution, the Ministry of Agriculture said Friday, responding to the European Commissionʼs decision to step up an infringement procedure against the country.

Last Thursday the EC said it is referring Hungary to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) over persistently high levels of particulate matter. The EC also referred France, Germany, Italy, Romania and the U.K. to the CJEU because of air pollution, recalled state news agency MTI.   

The ministry said work on preparing the new national strategy for particulate matter in the air started in 2017, and the program is expected to be approved by April 2019. Some HUF 160 billion has been spent on a particulate matter reduction program launched in 2011, it added.

The biggest source of particulate matter is from furnaces and stoves in homes and the burning of trash and garden waste, the ministry said. Particulate matter levels in the air are also influenced by Hungaryʼs geographic location and the weather, it added. 

At an air quality ministerial summit in Brussels in January, European Commissioner for the Environment Karmenu Vella gave Hungary and eight other European Union member states a tight deadline to submit finalised plans for complying with EU air quality laws.

All nine member states were earlier issued a "reasoned opinion," the second step in an infringement procedure, over their failure to comply with particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide thresholds.

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