Air Pollution in Spain

Air pollution in Spain is being reduced because of concerted efforts by the Spanish government. Air quality is a requirement of European Union (EU) membership, making it an important issue in a growing number of countries. By 2012 Spain will have relatively fresh air for everyone to enjoy.

As part of the European Union, Spain is working to do its part in reducing air pollution and meeting the guidelines set forth in the Kioto Agreement. Spain is focusing its efforts on decreasing pollution in both indoor and outdoor air.

Indoor Air Pollution

Tobacco Smoke:

Spain recognizes that tobacco smoke is a significant source of air pollution in Spain and has adopted new legislation that will promote a society without tobacco smoke. Spain’s anti-smoking law is designed to protect non-smokers, especially children, the elderly and pregnant women but is controversial in Spain because it bans and restricts tobacco use in public places. These tobacco laws meet EU directives and should protect 65 percent of the population from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke. This law implements the following restrictions:

  • Smoking Age

    The law increases the minimum age requirement for smoking to 18 years. This means that stores must confirm the age of a potential customer before selling cigarettes and automatic cigarette vending machines cannot be used by anyone under 18 years.

  • Ban on selling tobacco

    Cigarettes and other tobacco products can no longer be sold in government buildings, hospitals, health centers, schools, sports facilities, and areas made specifically for children such as playgrounds.

  • Ban on consuming tobacco

    Cigarettes and other tobacco products cannot be consumed in government buildings, hospitals, schools, sports facilities, department stores, food preparation areas, buses, subways, restaurants, grocery stores, and the like.

  • Designated smoking areas

    Hotels, bars, restaurants, air ports, bus and train stations, and cinemas must provide separate areas for smoking.

  • Advertising

    It is illegal to advertise cigarettes or other tobacco products. However, Spain has implemented a national advertising campaign to help the public understand the dangers of smoking to both smokers and non-smokers.

Construction Materials:

Since indoor air pollution can originate from the materials used to build homes, all new homes must be built so that Spain’s homeowners can live in a healthy environment. New construction materials must be free of radon, fumes, molds, and other pollutants.

Outdoor Air Pollution

Cities throughout Spain that host 100,000 people or more must prepare and implement Urban Mobility Plans that are designed to reduce emissions into the atmosphere. While these cities were given a template for what their plans must cover, the plans will vary from city to city depending on each city’s unique issues and specific requirements.

In addition to reducing emissions from cars, industry, and energy plants, Spain is also considering anti-pollutant technologies that will help decrease air pollution in Spain. Some of the more creative suggestions include watering the streets to reduce particles in the air and even using special paint that absorbs air pollutants. Other more traditional ideas are to use solar energy in public schools, which includes a student awareness programs, the promotion of renewable energy, and the reduction of certain pollutant compounds in the air.

Air pollution in Spain has decreased over the years. This progress was made by first stabilizing automobile emissions, with the ultimate goal of reducing emissions. Despite the fact that Spain is about 40 percent over the carbon dioxide limit set by the Kioto Agreement, Spain hopes to join other EU countries who comply with the EU air pollution guidelines by 2012.

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