Danes urged to reduce pollution

Denmark should reduce the health hazards and environmental risks of its transport, agriculture and energy sectors, according to a new report.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Environmental Performance Review of Denmark has made 37 recommendations to reduce pressing environmental problems such as air and water pollution.

The country has some of the OECD’s highest rates of mortality from some types of cancer, and allergy and respiratory diseases affect about 20% of the population – but it has no targets to reduce PM2.5 fine particulates.

The report called on the country to reduce air pollutants, including particulates, nitrogen oxides and ground-level ozone, as well as pollution of groundwater, lakes, rivers and coastal waters.

Denmark also needs to give more priority to marine protection, integrate environmental concerns into the country’s transport policies, and double efforts to meet targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the report said.

The OECD praises the country’s environmental policies and the economic analysis behind them, but said there was a still lot to be done.

The report said: “Despite these excellent environmental policies and many positive trends, Denmark’s environmental performance is not always high by OECD standards.”

It added: “This suggests that Denmark’s environmental policies have not always been strong enough to counter the pressures exerted on the environment from transport, agriculture, fisheries and other economic activities, as well as from consumption patterns.”

Danish Environment Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said the country could be satisfied with the OECD’s overall assessment and said ministers were already responding to some of the negative points highlighted in the report.

He said: “We welcome the OECD’s analyses and recommendations. In many cases they point in the same direction as the government wants to go, and therefore the government can use many of the recommendations actively in work which has already been started.”

Kate Martin

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