European Green Deal: Commission aims for zero pollution in air, water and soil
The European Commission yesterday adopted the EU Action Plan: “Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil” – a key deliverable of the European Green Deal and the main topic of this year's EU Green Week. It sets out an integrated vision for 2050: a world where pollution is reduced to levels that are no longer harmful to human health and natural ecosystems, as well as the steps to get there. The plan ties together all relevant EU policies to tackle and prevent pollution, with a special emphasis on how to use digital solutions to tackle pollution. Reviews of relevant EU legislation are foreseen to identify remaining gaps in EU legislation and where better implementation is necessary to meet these legal obligations.
Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans yesterday said:
“The Green Deal aims to build a healthy planet for all. To provide a toxic-free environment for people and planet, we have to act now. This plan will guide our work to get there. New green technologies already here can help reduce pollution and offer new business opportunities. Europe's efforts to build back a cleaner, fairer, and more sustainable economy must likewise contribute to achieving the zero pollution ambition.”
Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius yesterday said:
“Environmental pollution negatively affects our health, especially the most vulnerable and socially deprived groups, and is also one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss. The case for the EU to lead the global fight against pollution is today stronger than ever. With the Zero Pollution Action Plan, we will create a healthy living environment for Europeans, contribute to a resilient recovery and boost transition to a clean, circular and climate neutral economy.”
To steer the EU towards the 2050 goal of a healthy planet for healthy people, the Action Plan sets key 2030 targets to reduce pollution at source, in comparison to the current situation. Namely:
- improving air quality to reduce the number of premature deaths caused by air pollution by 55%;
- improving water quality by reducing waste, plastic litter at sea (by 50%) and microplastics released into the environment (by 30%);
- improving soil quality by reducing nutrient losses and chemical pesticides' use by 50%;
- reducing by 25% the EU ecosystems where air pollution threatens biodiversity;
- reducing the share of people chronically disturbed by transport noise by 30%, and
- significantly reducing waste generation and by 50% residual municipal waste.
The Plan outlines a number of flagship initiatives and actions, including:
- aligning the air quality standards more closely to the latest recommendations of the World Health Organisation,
- reviewing the standards for the quality of water, including in EU rivers and seas,
- reducing soil pollution and enhancing restoration,
- reviewing the majority of EU waste laws to adapt them to the clean and circular economy principles,
- fostering zero pollution from production and consumption,
- presenting a Scoreboard of EU regions' green performance to promote zero pollution across regions,
- reduce health inequalities caused by the disproportionate share of harmful health impacts now borne by the most vulnerable,
- reducing the EU's external pollution footprint by restricting the export of products and wastes that have harmful, toxic impacts in third countries,
- launching Living Labs for green digital solutions and smart zero pollution,
- consolidating the EU's Knowledge Centres for Zero Pollution and bringing stakeholders together in the Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform,
- stronger enforcement of zero pollution together with environmental and other authorities.
Jointly with the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability adopted last year, the action plan translates the EU's zero pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment into action. It goes hand in hand with the EU's goals for climate neutrality, health, biodiversity and resource efficiency and builds on initiatives in the field of energy, industry, mobility, food, circular economy, and agriculture.
This year's EU Green Week, the biggest annual event on environment policy, on 1 - 4 June will allow citizens across the EU to discuss zero pollution from its many angles at the main Brussels conference, online and in more than 600 partner events.
Latest News from
Pulling the plug on consumer frustration and e-waste: Commission proposes a common charger for electronic devices24/09/2021 16:33:00
The Commission yesterday took an important step against e-waste and consumer inconvenience, caused by the prevalence of different, incompatible chargers for electronic devices.
Europeans strongly support science and technology according to new Eurobarometer survey24/09/2021 15:25:00
A new Eurobarometer survey on ‘European citizens' knowledge and attitudes towards science and technology' released yesterday shows that 9 in 10 EU citizens (86%) think that the overall influence of science and technology is positive.
Firearms: Commission refers LUXEMBOURG to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to transpose EU rules on acquisition and possession of firearms24/09/2021 14:33:00
The Commission yesterday decided to refer Luxembourg to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to notify the national measures necessary to transpose EU rules on the acquisition and possession of firearms.
Yemen: EU allocates €119 additional million for humanitarian crisis24/09/2021 13:25:00
The Commission recently (22 September 2021) announced an additional €119 million in humanitarian and development aid to alleviate vulnerable Yemenis' suffering from over 6 years of conflict.
Trade and sustainability: Commission proposes new EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences to promote sustainable development in low-income countries24/09/2021 11:33:00
The Commission recently (22 September 2021) adopted the legislative proposal for the new EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) for the period 2024-2034.
NextGenerationEU: European Commission disburses €237 million in pre-financing to Latvia13/09/2021 10:25:00
The European Commission recently (10 September 2021) disbursed €237 million to Latvia in pre-financing, equivalent to 13% of the country's financial contribution as established in the Council Implementing Decision.
COVID-19: Council adds Uruguay and removes six countries from the list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted10/09/2021 15:25:00
Following a review under the recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU, the Council updated the list of countries, special administrative regions and other entities and territorial authorities for which travel restrictions should be lifted.
Strengthened EU export control rules kick in10/09/2021 13:25:00
The EU is strengthening its ability to respond to new security risks and emerging technologies.