Brussels, February 6 (MTI) – Although Hungary has been making efforts to improve its environmental performance, the implementation of the European Union’s environmental policy remains challenging, the European Commission said in its Environmental Implementation Report released on Monday.
In spite of the country’s continued efforts to preserve its rich natural heritage, undeveloped waste management and an inadequate water management infrastructure are causes for concern, the EC said.
The report cited floods as the biggest environmental problem along the Danube and Tisza rivers, while air pollution was named the main challenge in Budapest and other parts of the country.Heavy fog covers parts of Budapest – Photo gallery, photo: MTI
The EC pointed out that the emission of several air pollutants has decreased significantly over the past years in Hungary, but poor air quality remains a concern. Citing data from the European Environment Agency, the report said more than 12,890 people had died from high concentrations of fine particulate matter in 2013. It also cited estimates saying that annual health-related external costs from air pollution in Hungary exceed 5 billion euros.
The report said “too many full grown trees” have had to be chopped down in Budapest and other cities due to new construction projects. It said the unauthorized cutting of trees was also widespread. The EC said more effective urban planning focusing on the preservation of trees and green areas and stricter enforcement of those plans were needed in Hungary.
The report said Hungary was also having a hard time meeting the EU’s waste targets, acknowledging, at the same time, that municipal waste generation in 2014 had been below the EU average.
The EC ranked Hungary 18th on the Eco-innovation scoreboard, below the EU average, but said it had made a significant jump from the 23rd place it occupied two years earlier.
The commission also said Hungary was among the best in the EU with regard to signing and ratifying international environmental agreements.