The EUROSAI Working Group on Environmential Auditing (WGEA) held its forthcoming meeting on 19-20 June 2018. The Air Quality Meeting focused on the experience of the joint audit in the field of air pollution and the current state of the joint report of the audit.
At the first day of the event, the participating auditors presented the results of the national audits, details. On the second day, representatives of Polish and Dutch SAIs performing the coordinating tasks presented the progress of the joint report of the parallel audit. Subsequently, the participants listened to the lectures of experts in the field of air quality and air pollution.
Joint report on the effectiveness of measures to improve air quality.
The 16 SAIs involved in the audit have, with some exceptions, already completed their own audits. Based on the findings of these audits, the coordinators of the parallel control have recently begun compiling the draft of the joint report. Based on the summary of audit experiences and findings, the joint report will include the effectiveness of good air quality improvements, good practices and outstanding shortcomings. It will also include a brief summary of national audit reports individually.
The joint report is expected to be published in December 2018, which will be forwarded by the coordinators to the European Commission and the European Parliament.
Good practice to improve air quality
Representatives of the Court of Auditors participating in the parallel audit agreed on the importance of presenting good practices that could help address problems in countries facing the challenges of air pollution.
Representatives of Polish and Dutch SAIs performing the coordinating tasks presented some examples of identified good practices, which are divided into two types. The measures that have the primary positive impact are intended to mitigate the development of air pollution. In this context, the promotion of public transport, the modernization of public transport vehicles, the accessibility of environmentally-friendly vehicles (eg electric vehicles), the creation of so-called low emission zones, can be mentioned. In terms of population, it is important to highlight the wider use of environmentally friendly methods of household combustion and the different tools for increasing environmental awareness as good practice.
The secondary positive effects, good practices, can mitigate the negative effects of existing air pollution. A good example is the concept of the so-called vertical forests, where high-rise buildings are already planned to be paved with trees, thanks to the terraced design. Another, futuristic example is the use of air purifying concrete for the construction of high buildings, where trussed side-walled houses are built of titanium dioxide-containing concrete. This material filters out and transforms air pollutants into harmless salt, which is simply washed away by rain. With this solution, it is possible to build roads that have been used in Europe for the first time in Hengelo, the Netherlands.
Experts on air pollution
At the end of the event, the participants listened to the lectures of experienced experts on air pollution. They pointed out that in every country, there is a need to find a way how to ring the alarm bell that can increase the sense of environmental awareness and responsibility of society. A good example of this is the organization of media campaigns or events where citizens can understand why air quality is important, what the harmful effects of bad air for the present and next generations, and how the individual can contribute to environmentally conscious social thinking.
During the lecture on the health effects of air pollution, participants could gain insight into the types of illnesses that can be caused by bad air based on statistics, from which the respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular and various cancers can be mentioned.
Previous news on the Air Quality Meeting:
1. EUROSAI Air Quality Meeting on SAI’s audit experiences
2. International audit experiences on air pollution