ENVIRONMENT

Ninety-four percent of Spaniards breathing polluted air

Ecologists in Action report condemns government for not taking necessary measures

A cloud of polluted air hangs over the city of Madrid.
A cloud of polluted air hangs over the city of Madrid.ULY MARTÍN (EL PAÍS)

Ninety-four percent of Spaniards are breathing air that exceeds safe pollution levels recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to a 2011 report on Spain's air quality presented by the NGO Ecologists in Action on Tuesday.

On top of that, 22 percent of the population - 10.4 million people - is breathing air that exceeds European legal pollution limits, the report said.

Despite the seriousness of the figures, pollution levels have remained stable in Spain over recent years, above all because of the crisis. The biggest cause is traffic emissions in major cities, where the majority of the population lives.

Ecologists in Action condemned the government for not taking the necessary measures to solve this serious public health problem.

As has been the case since 2007, pollution levels in 2011 in fact showed a slight drop on 2010, but the organization said this was more to do with temporary reasons, such as a decline in motor vehicle fuel consumption, than the application of any planned measures to deal with the issue.

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