Prague Faces EU Lawsuit Over Air Pollution

Prague residents and environmental lawyers ClientEarth have filed a legal action against the city for failing to comply with EU regulations

Prague has become the latest EU city to face legal action for failing to comply with EU regulations over air pollution by legal activist group ClientEarth, the organization stated in a press release yesterday.

Prague is not the first Czech city to face such action; last week, a lawsuit was also filed against Brno by the environmental group.

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The Czech cities join others in the UK, Germany, Belgium and Poland that face legal consequences for failing to comply with EU air pollution regulations.

While EU regulations have set specific regulations detailing legal limits of air pollution, numerous countries and cities have been found to be in breach.

The Czech government had negotiated deadline extensions for complying with the EU laws, but the country has failed to meet those deadlines as the cities of Prague and Brno have now been found to be in breach of air quality regulations.

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While Prague currently has measures in place to improve air quality, those have been deemed inadequate by ClientEarth, Frank Bold, a legal organization based in Brno, and residents of the city, who have jointly field the lawsuit. 

How bad is the air quality in Prague? A real-time map from the city’s measuring stations can be found here. As of writing, some sections of the city have recorded ‘unhealthy’ and ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ measurements, while most others register as ‘good’ or ‘moderate’.

According to ClientEarth, over 10,000 deaths in the Czech Republic each year are attributed to air pollution. A recent World Bank report estimates that 5.5 million lives were lost across the world in 2013 as a result of the global impacts of air pollution.

A new WHO study estimates the Czech Republic’s deaths per capita as a result of air pollution at 58, ranking the country among the 25 deadliest in the world. In comparison, Sweden registers 0 deaths per capita from air pollution. 

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In the UK, the legal action against the government over illegal levels of air pollution filed earlier this year has been fast-tracked and will be heard by a judge next month.

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