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Poll: Czech air pollution among worst in EU

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Prague, June 10 (CTK) – The quality of air in the Czech Republic lags behind the average of the EU mainly due to the emissions of greenhouse gases which are the fifth worst in the EU, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes yesterday.
“An improvement in international comparison is a long-distance race,” Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) has said in a discussion staged in the Czech Senate, LN writes.
Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, unveiled the results of the latest report on the environment in the Senate, it adds.
Eurostat data reveal that the Czech Republic is the fifth worst source of greenhouse gases pollution in the EU, LN writes.
The overall average total greenhouse gases emissions are about nine tonnes of carbon dioxide per inhabitant, but the figure stands at almost 13 tonnes in the Czech Republic.
With regard to water quality, the situation is almost the same as the content of nitrates in Czech waters is one of the highest in the EU, LN writes.
Czechs should also improve their position in the proportion of energy generated from sustainable sources and the recycling rate, it adds.
Although progress has been achieved in both spheres in recent years, the Czech Republic is still lagging behind some Western countries of the EU, LN writes.
Roughly one-third of municipal refuse is recycled, while the proportion is all but double in Germany, Austria and Belgium, it adds.
On the other hand, the Czech Republic has the fifth lowest production of waste, LN writes.
“After the 1989 overthrow of the Communist regime, the state of the environment was disastrous. Since then, we have seen a remarkable improvement,” Brabec said.
However, low air quality is a surviving problem plaguing most the Czech Republic, LN writes.
“There has been a long-standing fall in the emissions, but the quality of air is not improving,” Brabec said.
The Moravia-Silesia Region and large towns are most hit by air pollution, LN writes.
In 2013, emission limit values were exceeded in more than one-third of the Czech Republic’s area, it adds.
This was largely due to transport, industry and emissions from local fireplaces, LN writes.
Exposure to dust particles in particular strongly affects the health, it adds.
According to the estimates by the National Institute of Public Health, it may have caused up to 5,500 premature deaths in 2012 alone, LN writes.
However, a Eurobarometer poll conducted in 2012 has revealed that environmental protection is no priority for most Czechs, it adds.
A mere 17 percent of Czechs consider it important, as against the European average of 21 percent, LN writes.

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