EU Commission launches EU Action Plan: 'Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil'

  • 7 juli 2021

Long term goals…

Climate change, environmental pollution, biodiversity loss and an unsustainable use of natural resources pose multiple risks to human, animal and ecosystem health. To build a Healthy Planet for All, the European Green Deal calls for the EU to better monitor, report, prevent and remedy air, water, soil and consumer products pollution, among other things. With “The zero pollution vision for 2050: a Healthy Planet for All”, the EU wants pollution reduced to levels no longer considered harmful to health and natural ecosystems and that respect the boundaries our planet can cope with, thus creating a toxic-free environment.

… ask for short term action: the zero pollution targets for 2030

The zero pollution ambition is an objective contributing to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and complementing the 2050 climate-neutrality goal in synergy with the clean and circular economy and restored biodiversity goals.

To steer the EU towards the 2050 vision of a Healthy Planet for All, this action plan sets key 2030 targets to speed up pollution reduction: by 2030 the EU should reduce

  1. by more than 55% the health impacts (premature deaths) of air pollution;
  2. by 30% the share of people chronically disturbed by transport noise;
  3. by 25% the EU ecosystems where air pollution threatens biodiversity;
  4. by 50% nutrient losses, the use and risk of chemical pesticides, the use of the more hazardous ones, and the sale of antimicrobials for farmed animals and in aquaculture;
  5. by 50% plastic litter at sea and by 30% microplastics released into the environment;
  6. significantly total waste generation and by 50% residual municipal waste.

Special attention for CEC’s

In addition to several actions to address the identified environmental challenges of pharmaceutical products via the implementation of the pharmaceutical strategy and the EU strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment, specific measures are also envisaged to address microplastics pollution, persistent organic pollutants in waste and harmful and persistent substances in products (such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in all non-essential uses.

2025: mid-term evaluation to stay on track

As many work strands are ongoing or only starting to deliver results, by 2025 the Commission will take stock of the degree of implementation of this action plan, building on the second Zero Pollution Monitoring and Outlook Report. It will identify whether further action is needed to address emerging concerns and review the targets, flagships and actions identified so far, so that this decade sets the EU on the pathway to zero pollution as a key component of the European Green Deal goals.

More info on the EU Action Plan: 'Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil' can be found on the website of the European Commission.