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
EU clears way for the EU Digital COVID Certificate15/06/2021 09:25:00
The Presidents of the three EU institutions, the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission yesterday attended the official signing ceremony for the Regulation on the EU Digital COVID Certificate, marking the end of the legislative process.
Council agrees on new rules for cross-border energy infrastructure14/06/2021 16:48:00
The Council recently (11 June 2021) reached a general approach on the revision of the Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E) Regulation.
Council approves conclusions on an EU renovation wave14/06/2021 15:25:00
The Council recently (11 June 2021) approved conclusions on a renovation wave that repairs the economy now, and creates green buildings for the future.
Council approves EU-UK agreement on fishing opportunities14/06/2021 13:25:00
The Council recently (11 June 2021) approved the agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom on fishing opportunities for 2021 and, for deep-sea stocks, for 2021 and 2022.
EU-U.S Joint statement on the humanitarian emergency in Tigray14/06/2021 09:25:00
EU-U.S Joint statement given recently (10 June 2021) on the humanitarian emergency in Tigray.
Talent Partnerships: Commission launches new initiative to address EU skills shortages and improve migration cooperation with partner countries11/06/2021 16:33:00
Today, the Commission is launching Talent Partnerships, a key initiative under the New Pact on Migration and Asylum that will help to address skills shortages in the European Union and to strengthen mutually-beneficial partnerships on migration with third countries.
Central America and Mexico: EU reaffirms support with €18.5 million in humanitarian and development aid11/06/2021 15:25:00
The EU yesterday announced at the 'Solidarity event for forcibly displaced persons and host communities in Central America and Mexico', that it will allocate €18.5 million in aid. Of this sum, €12 million represents humanitarian funding to Central America, and €6.5 million constitutes development assistance.
Council endorses new EU strategy on adaptation to climate change11/06/2021 14:38:00
The Council yesterday approved conclusions endorsing a new strategy that outlines a long-term vision for the EU to become a climate-resilient society that is fully adapted to the unavoidable impacts of climate change by 2050.
Child Labour: Statement by the European Commission and the High Representative on the World Day against Child Labour11/06/2021 13:25:00
Child Labour: Statement given by the European Commission and the High Representative on the World Day against Child Labour.
Education: EU increases its commitment to Global Partnership for Education with a pledge of €700 million for 2021-202711/06/2021 12:38:00
Ahead of the G7 Summit, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen yesterday announced that the European Union is pledging €700 million for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to help transform education systems for more than one billion girls and boys in up to 90 countries and territories.