Measuring car exhaust in Brussels, usually left to technicians or health experts, became part of the job for Margot Wallstrom and Stavros Dimas, the vice president of the EU executive and the environment commissioner on Wednesday. Faced with alarming (WHO) analyses which suggest that Europeans on average have nine months of life expectancy less because of pollution, an ambitious clean-up drive has been launched, going by the name “Pure air for Europe”.Through tighter regulatory limits on the micro-particles which penetrate the lungs, the programme aims to cut premature deaths caused by respiratory problems. According to the European Commission, 370,000 people died in the year 2000 from breathing micro-particles and ozone. The goal is to slash this by 40% by 2020. Children are particularly vulnerable because of their metabolism, their size and playing outside.
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