|BRUSSELS - Eight EU states are being taken to court for failing to take measures to fight air pollution, the European Commission said on Thursday.|
Belgium, Italy, Greece, Portugal, the Netherlands, Austria, Spain and Germany all missed a 2002 deadline to implement a host of EU laws on air quality to limit smog and breathing problems.
\"The European Commission is taking wide-ranging legal action to ensure that member states comply with EU legislation aimed at improving air quality in the European Union,\" the EU executive said in a statement.
The Commission also sent formal warnings to seven other states to implement anti-pollution laws or risk court action.
The Commission statement showed that Italy was the worst offender, having failed to implement five different EU air pollution laws, including legislation limiting emissions from waste incineration plants and large power plants.
\"Delays (in implementing the legislation) put citizens at greater risk of suffering health problems associated with poor air quality,\" EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom said in a statement.
If the court finds against the EU states, it can impose daily fines until the legislation is properly adopted.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE