Europe – in particular the European Union – is very much in the news at the moment. David Cameron stated earlier this week on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he is looking to seek a ‘fresh settlement’ with Europe and is due to make a much-anticipated speech on the issue on Friday.
Whatever your views on Britain’s involvement with Europe, 2013 looks like it will be an important year when it comes to the formulation of EU air pollution policy. This year is the EU’s Year of Air. For those unfamiliar with this initiative, it is a time when EU air pollution policy will be revised.
With a recent survey by Eurobarometer, the EU’s public opinion poll analysts informing us that the majority of EU citizens do not think their governments do enough to tackle harmful pollutants, now is a good a time as any to join together and push for appropriate legislation to be put in place across the entire region to create standards that will drastically reduce the level of pollutants in the air and so decrease the public health consequences.
Only last year the EU ruled that the UK is already in breach of its air quality directive and that 16 areas of the UK will not meet the legal NO2 limits by 2015. But what is government putting in place to help resolve this?
Introducing more greenery into the inner city areas where the PM10 and other pollutant levels are at their highest is a quick and easy step to begin improving air quality. Encouragingly, a number of local councils and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, are beginning the process of introducing living walls and green screens in order to absorb pollutants.
Why use living walls and green screens? Well, planting trees is all very well, however time is needed for them to establish themselves in their new home and grow. Green screens, such as ours, are a more convenient choice as they can begin to work on reducing the levels immediately. We have seen a growth in interest for these and now even sell screens that are as high as 3 meters.
Local authorities should be held more responsible and be given further support in reducing the air pollutants in their areas. With some co-ordinated thinking, hopefully the EU’s Year of Air can help them achieve this – for the sake of everyone’s lungs.