The European Environmental Agency (EEA) has published a new report saying that air pollution in parts of the EU is shortening lives by almost two years, the Irish Times reports.
Legislation has managed to cut the amount of some toxins from exhaust fumes and chimneys across Europe, but there are still dangerous levels of microscopic particles that are linked to lung cancer and cardiovascular problems, says the paper.
Back in March 2012, an OECD report claimed that air pollution will become the biggest cause of premature death, by killing an estimated 3.6 million people a year by 2050. It also said that urban air pollution in residential areas is set to become the biggest environmental cause of premature death in the coming decades, even overtaking a lack of clean drinking water.
In Malta, Enemalta's reliance on heavy fuel oil for the Delimara Power Station extension as well as the general neglect on key air pollution issues raises the red flag.
According to the OECD study particulate matter is likely to impact negatively on developed countries too, and not solely on developing countries like India and China.
The report is also harshly critical of the negative impact on air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in those countries that fail to use cleaner forms of energy.The new statement by the EEA has strengthened the case and created more urgency for tightening emissions restrictions.
"This is a really serious warning about the importance to our quality of life and health," EU environment commissioner Janez Potocnik said.