Ministry of Environment urges municipalities to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in cities2017-04-11
Vice-Minister of Environment Martynas Norbutas has summoned representatives of the Ministries of Environment, Health and Transport and Communications, the Administrations of the Vilnius and Kaunas Municipalities and public transport service providers for a consultation meeting on what measures need to be taken immediately to reduce air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions from transport.
The greatest pollution with nitrogen oxide and particulate matter in our environment comes from passenger cars, heavy-duty vehicles and buses. Results of studies show that atmospheric emissions of these gases have been steadily increasing in Lithuania.
“It is evident that urban pollution causes great health problems. With a view to fulfilling the international obligations in the fields of both pollution and combating climate change, cities must take more active steps. One of them is smarter and sustainable urban planning. Urban sprawl leads to increased numbers of cars, and municipalities quite often allocate funds to the installation of new parking spaces in city centres, which becomes one more incentive for citizens to use own cars. Investments in comfortable, speedy and low polluting public transport, bike paths and parking spaces near cities compatible with convenient and regular shuttle services to the centre are but a few solutions that can help to make a difference”, says Vice-Minister of Environment M. Norbutas.
In 2015, greenhouse gas emissions in Lithuania amounted to more than 20 mln. tonnes, up by about 1% from 2014. The greater part or 55% of the emissions was from the energy sector. The main source of pollution was transport (46%) and agriculture (23%). Compared to 2014, this amount increased the most in the transport sector (by more than 5%) and the agricultural sector (3%). By 2030, Lithuania is committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from sectors not involved in the EU Emission Trading System by 9% (compared to the emissions in 2005). If our country does not take additional pollution reduction measures, it can fail to reach this target and comply with the commitments under the Paris Agreement.
It is very important that municipalities ensure sustainable urban develop and transport and bike path infrastructure, and as soon as possible draw up and implement sustainable movement plans and acquire low polluting public transport vehicles. The quality of ambient air determines human health, especially diseases of the respiratory tract and cancer. Thus the reduction of air pollution and greenhouse gases is primarily aimed at creating a healthy environment for the population.
The meeting has agreed on cooperation with municipalities in the future when implementing the national objectives of climate change mitigation and air pollution reduction.