CAFE directive vs. local regulations on air quality in the EU

The concentration of particular matter is one of the indicators of air quality. Even though the toxic gas levels also play a significant role in smog formation, the PM is the main culprit. And, additionally, it’s a pollutant with the most noticeable influence on human health. The particles are measured in micrometers – a unit that stands between the millimetres and nanometres. It also serves for specifying the size of some bacteria or blood cells. That can give you an idea of how small these particles are. No wonder that it can easily enter our respiratory system and then into the bloodstream. This way, it can reach the organs, causing long-term damages.

The monitoring of particulate matter is essential to public health safety. When the PM concentration reaches worrying levels, the authorities are obliged to inform the local communities and take action against the air pollution. However, the standards differ significantly depending on the country. What about the European Union directives? Let’s take a closer look into it.

CAFE directive – the set of standards estabilished by the EU

The CAFE directive was released to fight the air pollution problem in the member states. The document focuses on specifying the intracommunity norms for air quality. It also defines the way the countries should react to the exceedances. It sets up the standards for the levels of PM 10 and PM 2.5 (the numbers refer to the size of particles in micrometers). The same goes for heavy metals and toxic gases. The directive obliges the member states to test samples and protect the air quality whenever the norms are exceeded. It specifies the ways to fight air pollution by recommending the limitation of car traffic and controls of the industrial emitters.

What did the CAFE change?

Even though the directive specifies the recommended standards, the local regulations can set up different air pollution norms. However, its introduction has enforced the formation of local informing institutions. That made access to the data on air quality more widespread. Despite that, the accuracy of their measures is far from perfect, as the number of the stations that collect samples is too low. That’s the reason behind the increasing popularity of air pollution maps. Some, like Airly Map, provide real-time data from sensors distributed densely in the urban areas. That provides the user with accurate data on the concentration of PM and toxic gases.

Even though the CAFE directive had a significant impact on the way the member states deal with the air pollution problem, it didn’t solve it completely. It’s worth noting that the countries can still set up their own standards and act according to them. Let’s take, for example, Poland – there, the alarming levels reach double or triple values of those in the other member states, like France or Germany. Thus, the authorities inform the community way later than in most places in the EU.

That’s why adopting individual measures is crucial to the community’s safety. Through apps like Airly Map, you can monitor real-time data on air quality in your area. That’s the best way to stay safe.