Title: Editorial for the "Environmental Science and Policy" special issue, on "Multidisciplinary research findings in support to the EU air quality planning: experiences from the APPRAISAL, SEFIRA and ACCENT-Plus FP7 projects"
Citation: ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & POLICY vol. 65 p. 1-2
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC102260
ISSN: 1462-9011
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901116303446
DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2016.06.016
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The European Union has since long recognized the strong impacts of air pollution on human health and the environment in general (EC, 2001). While there are success stories of European air pollution policies (such as the case of sulphur dioxide, that has definitely decreased) other pollutants such as particulate matter, ground level ozone and nitrogen dioxide are still of concern. The latest study from the World Health Organization (WHO, 2013) provides strong evidences in this respect, clearly linking long- term exposure to fine particles (PM2.5) with deaths due to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as increased morbidity, particularly in children and asthmatics. According to the European Environmental Agency (EEA, 2015), more than 80% of the urban population in the EU Member States is exposed to PM levels above the WHO guidelines. This translates into a decrease of life expectancy of more than eight months (on average), and up to two years in the most polluted areas. Air pollution also causes significant damage to ecosystems and the environment. Ground level ozone damages agricultural crops and vegetation. Nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and ammonia contribute to the acidification of soil, lakes and rivers, causing loss of biodiversity. Ammonia and NOx also negatively impact upon water ecosystems by introducing excessive amount of nutrients, in turn causing algal blooms and water hypoxia – a process known as ‘eutrophication’. Estimates suggest that two-thirds of the protected sites in the EU Natura 2000 network are currently under severe threat from air pollution. The awareness of this difficult situation and the simultaneous growing concern in the public opinion has fostered the launch of a number of research and coordination projects, particularly within the 7th Framework and the Life+ Programs, to best integrate the ongoing scientific activities and make their results available to the decision makers at the different levels. Among the many actions developed in this context, this special issue of “Environmental Science and Policy” presents some of the main results of the APPRAISAL, SEFIRA and ACCENT-Plus EU-FP7 projects.
JRC Directorate:Energy, Transport and Climate

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