By Jonathan Shkurko

June 26, 2020

A EU study published on Friday revealed that, like most European countries, Cyprus needs to step up efforts across all sectors to make sure citizens can breathe clean air, preventing respiratory diseases and premature death.

The study points out how Cyprus did not submit a national plan outlining its emissions reduction commitments before the deadline set for May 24, 2019.

However, it also said that the country was currently complying with a EU directive obliging member states to lay down national plans for air pollution control programmes.

“As a result of this compliance with existing measures, Cyprus is not obliged to adopt additional policies,” the report said.

“The study shows that Cyprus is planning to meet its commitments to reduce emissions by 2030.
The reports shows that the main contributors to polluted air emissions stem from energy production, industrial factories’ combustion, road transport, solvent use and agriculture.
Moreover, the overview of the Cyprus national plan to lower polluted air emissions shows that the existing actions are currently aimed at reducing emissions from energy production, road transport and agriculture.

“The detailed description of the current actions taken in accordance with the applicable EU legislation provides a good basis for future progress aimed at reducing polluted air emissions in Cyprus,” the report claimed.

Air pollution in Cyprus dropped to very low levels during the period of restrictive measures against Covid-19 that began in March.

This happened primarily due to the significant reduction in traffic and secondarily due to a decrease in electricity demand, highlighting the benefits that sustainable transport and power generation solutions would have for Cyprus.

Air pollution in city centres was significantly reduced in March and April compared to previous months.

During the rush hours from 7am to 9am the pollutant concentrations in some situations fell up to five times below the corresponding January levels.

The average level of nitrogen oxides in March 2020 was 33 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m3) compared to 53 in March 2019 and in April 2020 it was 16  compared to 42 in April last year.