Parents and Health Experts Try to Ease Italy’s Pollution

Parents and Health Experts Try to Ease Italy’s Pollution


David Yoder for The International Herald Tribune

Davide Franchini, 15, left, Cecilia Maresca, 16, center, holding a measuring device, and Marco Sartorio, 16, monitor air pollution in Milan. The students have found that ultrafine particles in the air exceed safe levels.

Published: June 12, 2007


MILAN — This part of northern Italy is renowned for fashion, food, Fiat. But now it has another, less welcome claim to fame: the cities here have the worst air pollution in Europe.

By mid-May, Milan had already exceeded European Union and World Health Organization limits for particle pollution in the air on 80 days. Last year was bad, too. By the end of March, Milan had 64 such days, Turin had 77, Bologna 51 and Venice 49.

Particulate pollution is tied to heart disease and respiratory ailments like asthma, and poor lung development in children.

While Europe’s other big polluters — Germany and Poland — have reduced emissions since 1990, Italy’s emissions have increased. This year, the European Commission deemed Italy’s plan for emission reduction to be inadequate, and the country faces billions of euros in fines unless it corrects the problem.

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