EU condemns Italy for excessive pollution levels

Italy could face fines of up to one billion euros

ROME – The European Union (EU) has referred Rome to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for the extreme levels of pollution registered in seven Italian regions, which could result in sanctions of up to one billion euros.

 After few indecisive measures and efforts, Italy’s smog issue remains excessively severe, and it is for this reason that Brussels has taken action. Italy was also previously reported to the ECJ in May for breaking fine particle PM 10 levels.   

 On Wednesday, Environmental Minister Sergio Costa met European Commissioner for the Environment Karmenu Vella in Brussels. In recent months, the Italian minister had voiced his views in the EU capital in an attempt to block the process of open infringement proceedings, however in this case he was not successful.

 Consequently, Wednesday saw 28 commissioners give the political go-ahead to the decision taken by their Heads of Cabinet on Monday.

 Italy has been criticised for repeatedly breaching the permitted levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution since 2015, which isheavily linked to road traffic pollution. Moreover, Italy’s is already paying fines of millions of euros for its failure to improve sewage water treatment systems.

 Not only has Italy violated instruction due to continuous overrunning of pollution levels, but also “due to its failure to take appropriate measures to ensure compliance and to keep the overrunning period as short as possible,” La Stampa reported.

 The seven Italian regions involved in the excessive levels of pollution include the cities of Rome, Turin, Florence, Genoa, Campobasso and Catania.