Commission takes Italy to Court over air pollution and failure to properly treat urban waste water



The first case concerns air pollution, and a failure to protect citizens against the effects of nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The Commission is calling on Italy to respect agreed air quality limit values and take appropriate measures to cut pollution levels in ten agglomerations covering around 7 million people. The limit values for NOset out under EU legislation on ambient air quality (Directive 2008/50/EC) had to be met in 2010.

Air pollution directly causes both chronic and serious diseases such as asthma, cardiovascular problems and lung cancer. Ill-health caused by air pollution costs the economy billions of euros in lost working days.

This referral follows similar action against France, Germany, and the United Kingdom in May 2018, for similar failures to respect limit values for NO2, and for failing to take appropriate measures to keep exceedance periods as short as possible.

In May 2018 Italy was also referred to the Court of Justice over persistently high levels of particulate matter (PM10).

The second Court case against Italy is regarding water pollution. Italy is failing to ensure that all agglomerations with a population of more than 2 000 are provided with collecting systems for urban waste water and that urban waste water entering collecting systems is adequately treated before discharge, as required by the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (Council Directive 91/271/EEC).

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