In the News
June 26, 2019
June 26, 2019
The French state has not taken sufficient steps to limit air pollution around the city of Paris, a court has found, after a mother and daughter complained that pollution had been detrimental to their health.
French news agency AFP reports that the case, which came before the administrative court in Montreuil outside Paris and was backed by NGOs, including Ecologie sans Frontiere, was the first brought by individuals against the French state over health problems caused by air pollution.
The court said that the state committed a fault by taking “insufficient measures” concerning the quality of air and that between 2012 and 2016, it had failed to take measures needed to reduce concentrations of certain polluting gases exceeding the allowed limits.
At the time, the mother and daughter were living in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Ouen, just outside the heavily congested périphérique ring road, which is reportedly used by around 1.1 million drivers a day.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer Francois Lafforgue told AFP: “For victims of pollution, this is a first. From now, the state will have to take effective measures in the fight against pollution.”
The landmark case comes at a time of growing concern about the effects of air pollution in cities around the world. According to a report in The European Heart Journal, air pollution reduces the mean life expectancy in Europe by about 2.2 years.
The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) reports that fossil fuel-driven particulate air pollution cuts global average life expectancy by 1.8 years per person.
It launched The Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) last year which establishes particulate pollution as the single greatest threat to human health globally, with its effect on life expectancy exceeding that of devastating communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS and behavioral killers like cigarette smoking.