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PM10 exceedances in Athens, Greece

Question écrite de M. Petros KOKKALIS - Commission européenne

Question de M. Petros KOKKALIS,

Diffusée le 25 mars 2024

Subject: PM10 exceedances in Athens, Greece

According to the available data from the European Environment Agency, PM10 levels in Athens exceeded the daily limit value while on more than the permitted number of days in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2022. Taking into consideration the obligations of Member States under Directive 2008/50/EC as well as ongoing infringement procedures1 for other air pollutants in Athens and their combined impact on human health, I ask the Commission:

1. Have the Greek authorities established and communicated an air quality plan with appropriate measures to combat the pollutant in question, or an integrated air quality plan where relevant, pursuant to Article 23 and Section A of Annex XV of Directive 2008/50/EC to rectify this exceedance?

2. Given that the problem is systemic and has persisted for over a decade, does the Commission intend to initiate an infringement procedure for the PM10 exceedances in Athens to ensure Greece complies with the air quality standards set out in Directive 2008/50/EC and avoid further health impacts, and if not, why not?

3. How does the Commission ensure that data on air pollutants and air quality plans in the EU is available to citizens at all times2?

Submitted:26.3.2024

1 INFR(2008)2192 and INFR(2018)2361.

2 At the time of submission of the written question, certain sections of the Air Quality Portal of the EEA are

inaccessible, impeding access to information regarding, inter alia, Member States’ compliance with Directive 2008/50/EC.

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 22 mai 2024

Answer given by Mr Sinkevičius on behalf of the European Commission (23 May 2024)

1. The Commission closely monitors the implementation of the Ambient Air Quality Directives (3) and has referred Greece to the Court of Justice of the EU for persistent exceedances of the limit values and failure to keep the periods of exceedance as short as possible for two air pollutants (i.e. nitrogen dioxide (4) and particulate matter (5)). The Court of Justice confirmed the Commission’s concerns in judgments in February and March 2023 (6).

2. The air quality zone of Athens is covered by one of the above-mentioned judgments of the Court for persistent and systematic exceedances of the limit value for nitrogen dioxide and for lack of appropriate measures to keep the exceedance period as short as possible. To comply with the Court's ruling, the Greek authorities will have to adopt an air quality plan. The measures to be adopted by the Greek authorities in that context are expected to also have a positive impact on the level of particulate matter concentration, which has exceeded the daily limit value set by Directive 2008/50/EC in two of the last five years for which data has been reported.

Greek authorities have not officially communicated to the Commission the adoption of an air quality plan in the air quality zone of Athens.

3. All air quality data reported by the Member States to the Commission are made available to the public on the Air Quality Portal of the European Environment Agency (7).

1 ∙ ⸱ INFR(2008)2192 and INFR(2018)2361.

2 ∙ ⸱ At the time of submission of the written question, certain sections of the Air Quality Portal of the EEA are inaccessible, impeding access to information

regarding, inter alia, Member States’ compliance with Directive 2008/50/EC. 3 ∙ ⸱ Directive 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe, OJ L 152, 11.6.2008, p. 1-44.

Directive 2004/107/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 December 2004 relating to arsenic, cadmium, mercury, nickel and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in ambient air, OJ L 23, 26.1.2005, p. 3-16. 4 ∙ ⸱

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_3402 5 ∙ ⸱

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_2151 6 ∙ ⸱

Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the cases C-70/21 and C-633/21. 7 ∙ ⸱ https://aqportal.discomap.eea.europa.eu/













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