WHO Air Quality Guidelines

The World Health Organisation (WHO) published new recommendations on air quality on 22.09.2021. Like the previous guidelines, they aim to protect human health and take into account the latest state of knowledge. The WHO recommendations have now been evaluated by the Federal Commission on Air Hygiene (FCAH) for Switzerland and its conclusions and proposals together with an evaluation report have been submitted to the Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC).

The update of the WHO recommendations takes into account the overwhelming amount of new evidence on the health effects of air pollution that has been gained over the last two decades. It appears that the harmful effects not only happen to high levels of pollution, but can be observed even at low concentrations below existing legal limits.
Accordingly, to protect health, further reductions in air pollution must be achieved. This requires a further reduction of pollutant emissions from the use of fuels in heating systems, vehicle engines and machines, as well as emission reductions in industrial processes, tyre and brake abrasion and in the agricultural sector (animal excrement). This requires measures at local, cantonal and federal level and their consistent implementation.
Coordination at the international level is essential: the aim is to extend the obligations to limit emissions of particulate matter and ozone precursors, as well as nitrogen compounds, which the states have entered into within the framework of the UNECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution.

Last modification 30.11.2023

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