china pollution Let Ideas Compete/Flickr

L’aria malsana dell’Europa

SINGAPORE – Ai policy maker europei piace fare la predica al resto del mondo sull’inquinamento dell’aria, e il bersaglio preferito delle loro critiche è l’Asia, in particolare la Cina. A volte sembra addirittura che una conferenza internazionale sull’ambiente sia incompleta senza una presentazione degli europei sulle loro presunte “migliori pratiche”, che il resto del mondo dovrebbe emulare. Sul tema dell’inquinamento dell’aria, però, l’Europa potrebbe considerare l’opportunità di parlare di meno e ascoltare di più.        

L’inquinamento dell’aria desta sempre più preoccupazione in Europa. L’Organizzazione mondiale della sanità (Oms) lo ha definito il “maggior rischio ambientale per la salute” del continente, stimando che il 90% dei cittadini europei sono esposti a un livello d’inquinamento esterno superiore ai parametri di qualità stabiliti dall’Oms. Nel 2010, circa seicentomila cittadini europei sono morti prematuramente a causa dell’inquinamento dell’aria interna ed esterna, generando un costo pari a 1.600 miliardi di dollari, circa il 9% del Pil dell’Unione europea.  

Sono Londra e Parigi a soffrire di più per i problemi legati alla qualità dell’aria. I livelli di diossido di azoto registrati in alcune zone di Londra raggiungono regolarmente il doppio o il triplo del limite raccomandato. Nel Regno Unito, l’inquinamento dell’aria uccide circa 29.000 persone ogni anno, ed è secondo solo al fumo come causa di morte prematura. Parigi è forse messa ancora peggio; nel marzo scorso, dopo che i livelli d’inquinamento atmosferico hanno superato quelli di Shanghai, il sindaco ha imposto un parziale blocco del traffico e reso gratuiti i trasporti pubblici.     

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