Contaminated air leaves half of Spain choking

9th July 2008, Comments 0 comments

Environmental group blames authorities for being passive in tackling the growing environmental problem.

9 July 2008

MADRID - Ecologistas en Acción said Tuesday that one of the main conclusions of a study on Spain's airborne pollution in 2007 revealed that a minimum of 53 percent of Spaniards are exposed to dangerously contaminated air.

The group blamed the situation on the "tremendous and striking passivity" of regional governments in tackling an ever-growing environmental problem.

The report claimed that as a result of poor air quality in the capital Madrid, each inhabitant loses two to three years of life expectancy.

"Authorities are responsible and they are placing their interests above those of the population," said Paco Segura of Ecologistas en Acción.

"Moreover, they do not give enough information concerning the problem, nor do they comply with the contamination limits set by existing legislation."

The environmental group said air pollution was the cause for an estimated 370,000 deaths in Europe each year. In Spain alone, 16,000 die due to these causes, according to the Environment Ministry.

Segura said that Catalonia was the only region in Spain that has taken effective steps to counter the adverse effects of air pollution. Some of the measures hailed by Ecologistas en Acción in Catalonia included lowering speed limits and monitoring how many of its inhabitants are exposed to air pollution.

The report revealed that 80 percent of the population of Madrid, Alarcón, Torrejón and Leganés were subjected to contaminated air. The study did not include the regions of Galicia, the Canary and Balearic Islands.

[El Pais / Expatica]

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