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Air pollution causes 3,800 premature deaths

The government says that stricter legislation has succeeded in significantly reducing air pollution in Switzerland, but that greater efforts are needed to avoid the deaths of 3,800 people who die each year from respiratory diseases.

The government says that stricter legislation has succeeded in significantly reducing air pollution in Switzerland, but that greater efforts are needed to avoid the deaths of 3,800 people who die each year from respiratory diseases.

Anti-pollution legislation introduced in 1983 is now showing results in a number of sectors, the government said in a report released Tuesday.

Sulphur dioxide emissions have been reduced by 75 percent, volatile organic compounds by about 30 percent and nitric oxide emissions by about 25 percent, according to the report.

However, while most target levels have not been exceeded, the levels for ozone, nitric oxide and dust particles entering people’s lungs are still considered far too high.

The government says that kind of pollution is to be blamed for many respiratory illnesses as well as 3,800 premature deaths in Switzerland each year.

Air pollution also has a negative impact on agriculture, causing a reduction of harvests of up to 15 percent, the report says.

The government says it will now push for stricter anti-pollution measures in the energy, transport and agriculture sectors.

From staff and wire reports.

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