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European Commission adopts action plan for zero pollution in air, water, and soil

European Commission adopts action plan for zero pollution in air, water, and soil

In order to meet sustainable targets by 2030

Today, 12 May 2021, the European Commission adopted the EU Action Plan: “Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water, and Soil.” The Action Plan is a critical component of the European Green Deal and the focus of this year's EU Green Week.

The Action Plan lays out a comprehensive vision for 2050: a world where pollution levels are no longer detrimental to human health and natural habitats, as well as the steps to get there. The strategy integrates all applicable EU policies to combat and prevent pollution, with a focus on how to use digital technologies to combat pollution.

Reviews of applicable EU legislation are planned in order to recognise remaining gaps in EU legislation and areas where better compliance is needed to fulfil these legal obligations.

2050 goal of the sustainable world starts with 2030 Action Plan

In order to guide the EU toward the 2050 aim of a sustainable world for healthy citizens, the Action Plan establishes crucial 2030 goals for reducing emissions at the source in relation to the current situation. Specifically, some of them will include:

  • enhancing water quality by eliminating waste, plastic litter at sea (by 50%), and microplastics released into the atmosphere (30%);
  • increasing soil quality by cutting nutrient losses and chemical pesticide usage by half;
  • reducing EU habitats where air pollution threatens biodiversity by 25%;
  • reducing waste generation by 50% and residual municipal waste by 50%.

“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,” emphasised the Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans.

The Action Plan, along with the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, puts the EU's zero-emission vision for a toxic-free world into action. It complements the EU's goals for climate neutrality, health, biodiversity, and resource efficiency, and builds on initiatives in energy, manufacturing, mobility, food, circular economy, and agriculture.

This year's EU Green Week, the largest annual forum on environmental policy, will take place from June 1 to 4, allowing people across the EU to address zero emissions from a variety of perspectives at the main Brussels meeting, online, and at more than 600 partner events.

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