Parliamentary committee voted for the death of ten thousand people

“We have to vote on saving the life of ten thousand people,” chairman of the Parliament’s Sustainable Development Committee and member of the Green Party LMP Benedek R. Sallai justified by this argument his amendment to the state budget bill. The amendment based on the initiative of the Clean Air Action Group would have provided HUF 20 billion for reducing particle pollution (PM10) instead of HUF 30 million foreseen by the government.

President of the Clean Air Action Group, András Lukács quoted a report of the European Environment Agency at the committee meeting which states that in Hungary around 13,000 people die per year because of particle pollution. But this fact is just the tip of the iceberg, since the number of diseases caused by air pollution is hundred to thousand times higher than the number of deaths.

The main cause of particle pollution in Hungary is the residential burning, that became especially alarming during the last few years, as the use of solid fuels has spread widely – first of all wood and lignite, the lowest quality coal. On the top of that, illegal burning of household waste, like plastic and other garbage poses a much more serious threat. But it is possible to reduce significantly the air pollution caused by residential burning by a large-scale information campaign, training of the authorities’ personnel, appropriate regulation and by ensuring firewood for the most deprived persons. To implement these tasks HUF 20 billion should be provided in the 2017 State Budget which would be recovered thanks to the better health of the population.

However, the pro-government majority of the committee rejected the amendment.

Thank you for allowing me to explain my arguments,” said András Lukács after the session. “This gives us hope that the members from the ruling party didn't vote 'no', they only raised their hands with downcast eyes when the president asked who abstains from voting. Despite the fact that they rejected the initiative with the same result as if they would have voted 'no', they seemed to have a bad conscience, so I hope that by working in the background they will do everything possible for us to live in a healthier environment.”

See also:

Suffocating in the smoke of waste burning, https://www.levego.hu/en/news/2016/05/suffocating-in-the-smoke-of-waste-burning

Translated by Regina Bakonyi