Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Italy Declares Emergency Due to Severe Air Pollution, Smog

Fri 23 Feb 2024 | 03:23 PM
Israa Farhan

Italy has implemented new measures and restrictions to combat worsening air pollution in the north of the country, causing alarm, particularly in the Lombardy region, according to the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero.

The paper highlighted Italy's welcome of the new air pollution measures agreed upon by the European Parliament, considering it good news in light of the 47 annual premature deaths attributed to air pollution in Italy.

Il Messaggero noted that various regions in Italy are experiencing increased pollution and drought due to a lack of rainfall, which has implications for climate change.

This has resulted in smog engulfing Milan and severe water shortages in Sicily. Consequently, the most polluting vehicles were banned from driving in Milan and eight other cities in Lombardy on Tuesday due to the extremely high air pollution levels in this affluent industrial region of northern Italy.

Lombardy, which includes many intensely farmed pastures, has also banned the spreading of manure in fields, a practice that significantly contributes to nitrate pollution.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, the Commissioner for Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries, stated yesterday, "The agreement marks a milestone towards 'zero' pollution and a cleaner, healthier Europe."

Brussels explains that once the new law is adopted, it will align the EU's air quality standards for 2030 more closely with the World Health Organization's global air quality guidelines, marking "an important step to better protect our health and move towards zero environmental pollution by 2050," as stated by Brussels.

This revision of the ambient air quality directives will see the annual limit values for key pollutants, particularly fine particulate matter (PM2.5), reduced by more than half.