According to a statement from the European Commission, Portugal has recorded continuous and persistent exceedances of the annual limit value for nitrogen dioxide.
The European Commission on Friday decided to take Portugal to the European Court of Justice for poor air quality caused by high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
According to a statement from the European Commission, Portugal has recorded continuous and persistent exceedances of the annual limit value for nitrogen dioxide in three air quality zones: North Lisbon, Coastal Porto and Entre Douro e Minho.
Air pollution from nitrogen dioxide in these areas results mainly from road traffic, particularly diesel vehicles.
In addition, Portugal has not taken adequate measures to limit the exceedances to a minimum.
If the limit values set by European Union (EU) ambient air quality legislation (Directive 2008/50/EC) are exceeded, member states must adopt air quality plans to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to reduce the period of exceedance as far as possible.
In May 2019, the European Commission sent Portugal a letter of formal notice on air quality, followed in February 2020 by a reasoned opinion.
The Commission, therefore, considers that the efforts of the Portuguese authorities have so far been unsatisfactory and insufficient and has therefore decided to refer Portugal to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Brussels maintains that full implementation of the air quality standards enshrined in EU legislation is key to protecting human health and preserving the natural environment.
The European Green Deal and the Action Plan on Zero Pollution highlight the importance of reducing air pollution, one of the main factors adversely affecting human health.
Air pollution by NO2 mainly results from human activities such as road traffic, especially diesel vehicles, and industry. This type of pollution is the cause of serious diseases such as asthma and reduced lung function.