SWITZERLAND: environment department calls for more controls on air pollution

Despite successful reductions in pollutant emissions and improvements in air quality, air pollution continues to harm public health and the environment and new measures must be explored to further reduce pollution, says a report by the Swiss federal environment department (DETEC).

Environmental and health protection should play a greater role in transport, energy, agricultural and economic policy, says DETEC.

Compared to peak levels in the 80s, pollutant emissions have reduced by nearly three-quarters for sulphur dioxide, one-third for VOCs, and one-quarter for Nox, and emissions limits are generally respected.

However, tropospheric ozone, Nox and particulates still exceed acceptable levels, sometimes by a large amount. Measures recently adopted by the federal government, such as new emissions limits on vehicles and machinery, a new CO² law and green tax reform, will produce further reductions if adopted rapidly and pursued, says the report.

But these measures will not be sufficient to achieve the minimum objectives set by the federal government in its air pollution control strategy, says DETEC – additional measures will be needed to reduce troposperic ozone, Nox and particulates.

Three reports published recently by the federal environment agency recommend exploring a variety of new measures, including a further reduction in exhaust emissions limits and an active policy of economic incentives.

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