The activity of the Clean Air Action Group in 2013

The activity of the Clean Air Action Group in 2013

(Summary of the Annual Report)

2013 was the Year of Clean Air in the European Union, and for the 25 year old Clean Air Action Group it was a very successful year indeed. Distance-based road pricing was introduced for trucks, which Clean Air Action Group fought for since the 90’s. Furthermore, our organization helped reveal the fact that big companies are committing a 1000 billion Forints worth of VAT fraud every year with the help of the government.

Usually, most of our organization’s activity is focused on the improvement of air quality, this was the case in 2013 as well. One major component of this was the introduction and implementation of distance based road pricing for trucks. We had several suggestions and critical observations about the subject.

The air quality in a major city like Budapest is determined in large part by the buses used in public transport. We consulted with the Municipality of Budapest, the Centre for Budapest Transport and bus manufacturers in order to improve the average age of the city’s bus fleet (which is currently 19 years) by procuring newer, more environmentally friendly vehicles. We also launched a public awareness campaign to put additional pressure on the government.

We think it is very important that the public and the decision-makers are aware of the health and environmental impact of air pollution. That is why we organized a traveling exhibition about PM10 pollution, which consists of 22 posters and was shown in several locations around the country.

Environmental pollution and other societal problems can be partially attributed to tax fraud and corruption. The Clean Air Action Group consulted with the officials of the European Commission multiple times about the Hungarian budget, the tax system, and its anomalies. It made the national news when – with the help of our organization – it was announced that a 1000 billion Forints worth of tax fraud is being committed every year with the assistance of the tax authority.

The quality of life in a city or village is partly dependent on the development plans and construction regulations which are adopted in that area. That is why it is important to submit suggestions and opinions about them, which we have been doing throughout the year. Each year more and more of the area between the rivers Duna and Tisza is being consumed by gravel mines, so we tried to put a stop to their proliferation.

We have successfully closed our project about indoor air quality, during which more than 2,000 high school students attended our presentations. Our international USE-mobility project also came to an end which aimed at lowering the environmental impact of transportation.

In 2013 we started our two and a half year long “Dare to change!” project. Its goal is to foster cooperation between NGOs, and thanks to the Norway Grants we help 20 NGOs to function more efficiently, and thus provide best practices for other members of civil society as well.