Bulgaria and Belgium in the Dock, to be Tried for Flouting Pollution Norms

Bulgaria and Belgium in the Dock, to be Tried for Flouting Pollution Norms

Belgium and Bulgaria have troubling brewing, with the European Union regulators trying them in the bloc's top court, for flouting the legal limits on air pollution.

The European Commission on Thursday held that Bulgaria had terribly failed to live up to the legal limits on levels for PM10, or particulate matter, which was produced by traffic and industry. These tiny particles, if inhaled, could enter the lungs and bloodstream and lead to respiratory diseases and some forms of cancer as well.

The Commission further stated that air pollution was linked to as many as 400,000 premature deaths in the European Union. Even with standards in place, the member states had not adhered to the emission reduction targets, which were less stringent than levels set by the World Health Organization.

With respect to Belgium, the Commission maintained that though its track record with regard to levels of PM10, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide had improved, still further reductions were needed. When it came to Sweden, it said that the nation exceeded EU legal limits on pollutants. Therefore, the day is not far when a warning would be sent to Sweden as well.

Prior to the above, Britain was taken to task by the European Commission. It has been given the ultimatum until year-end to submit new plans to the European Commission on how it plans to tackle levels of nitrogen dioxide.

The Commission takes the recourse of the European Court of Justice, which has the authority to impose daily fines if member states are found to be in breach of EU law.