Latvia’s environment minister Romans Naudins has entrusted Riga City Mayor Nils Ushakovs to immediately solve the problem of air pollution in downtown Riga, LETA reported on Monday.
According to the report, the European Commission (EC) sent a warning to the Latvian Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry (EPRD) concerning the EC’s requirements towards air quality and excessive particulate matter (PM10) in the downtown of Riga.
Naudins expected Ushakovs to solve the situation by Aug. 27. Should the Mayor fail to meet the deadline, some measures will be taken.
“It is not normal that we have to breathe air like this,” the EPRD minister stated.
Dust pollution in the Riga downtown exceeds the EU norm 19 fold. Due to the hot weather the concentration of dust in the air reached 950 microgram (mcg) per cubic meter while the EC allowed norm is 50 mcg.
According to the EC regulations, the norm can be exceeded no more than 35 times per year. Usual practice in Riga is to exceed the norm four fold. Riga will be subject to 500,000 euros (about 669,200 U.S. dollars) fine if the situation is not improved.
By far Latvia has not submitted to the EC an updated statement with the assessment of measures for the improvement of air quality in Riga for the 2011-2015 period. Naudins expects Riga City Council to submit this document by Aug. 27 so as EPRD could forward it to the EC.