Good progress has been made in reducing our production of pollutants.
However, if technology is to continue to advance, we need to re-think
some of our methods. Progress must not be allowed at the expense of
the planet's resources. In the 21st century, innovation will be acceptable
only if it incorporates sustainability; it must do its job without harming
the environment. There is no shortage of inspiration: harnessing wind
and water power, solar energy, building equipment with improved efficiency,
using alternative materials. The list is endless, but turning ideas
into reality takes years of research and development.
European researchers are among the most creative in the world. They
are developing technology that can measure environmental change, protect
the environment and put right some of the damage that has been done.
Among the most active areas are water and waste water management, recycling,
using biosensors to monitor pollution levels, using micro-organisms
to degrade toxic waste and the development of 'green' vehicles. Europe
is turning ideas into practical, workable reality.
The new danger of organic pollutants
Increased organic pollution of fresh water resources could lead
to hormonal imbalances in amphibians and fish. The Waste Water Cluster
consists of three, related European projects that are improving our
understanding of how some industrial and domestic pollutants affect
water supplies. The teams involved are developing better alert systems
and new purification processes.
The era of green transport
European car manufacturers are putting a lot of effort into the development
of 'green' vehicles. Many researchers are working with the automobile
industry to produce high-performance electric or "hybrid" vehicles.
Planned growth in air transport over the next few years will depend
on reducing the impact of aircraft on the environment. Aero-engine manufacturers
and researchers are working together to develop low-emission combustion
chambers for use in engines destined for both subsonic and supersonic