Review: EU Falling Down on Environment

BRUSSELS, Aug. 30 (UPI) — The European Union has earned a failing grade on its environmental commitments in almost all areas, recent officials studies say.

From protecting biodiversity to improving air quality in the cities, official reviews of the EU’s performance overwhelmingly say more must be done, Inter Press Service reports.

The European Commission, the bloc’s governing body, confirms the worrisome problems in its latest Environment Policy Review released Aug. 2.

Although many official environmental protection programs have been launched and progress is evident in some areas, “further efforts are needed, in particular (to tackle) the loss of biodiversity,” the EC review said.

Only 17 percent of protected EU habitats and species have a good conservation status, the review said.

“Grasslands, wetlands and coastal habitats are the most vulnerable, mainly due to factors such as the decline in traditional patterns of agriculture, pressure by tourist development, and climate change,” it said.

The review also found the quality of air in most European cities continues to be “bad.” Exposure to particulate matter, especially ozone and other heavy polluters such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, remains high, it said.

European Commissioner for Environment Biodiversity Janez Potocnik has urged European governments to increase their environmental efforts.

“A number of data and trends (in environmental protection) remain worrying. I see a clear need … for further EU and national policy measures to make Europe more resource efficient,” Potocnik said.

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