Magazine Environment for Europeans
Making cities more breathable24/05/2018
This year, the European Commission’s Green Week, the biggest annual event on environment in Europe, is all about greening our cities.
Getting the most out of recycling09/04/2018
Certain chemicals found in products and materials make it more difficult to reuse and recycle these products – creating a challenge to ‘closing the loop’ in the circular economy.
Ambitious new strategy to make plastic fantastic16/03/2018
Europe is tackling plastics waste head-on with an ambitious new strategy that proposes to make all plastic packaging recyclable or reusable by 2030.
Environment poll: citizens trust the EU, but expect more25/01/2018
Europeans remain very concerned about the environment, with climate change, air pollution and mounting waste as their biggest worries. While they are increasingly committed to individual action, a new poll reveals they expect the EU and national governments to do more.
New LIFE Integrated Projects in eight Member States will help them apply environment and climate laws on the ground to tackle challenges such as water scarcity, climate change, circular economy and biodiversity loss. LIFE funding will mobilise additional investments totalling EUR 2 billion, enabling Member States to use other EU funds as well as national funds and private-sector investment.
The Clean Mobility Package is the latest in a series of proposals aimed at reinforcing the European Union’s global leadership in sustainable transport. According to Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, “The global race to develop clean cars is on”.
Environment for Europeans asked Matjaž Malgaj about the latest steps to improve Europe’s drinking water supply. He heads the DG Environment Unit that is responsible for the marine environment and water industry.
The Kigali Amendment to the United Nations’ Montreal Protocol, which aims to cut back the global use of harmful hydrofluorocarbon gases (HFCs), comes into force in January 2019. The EU has received a 2017 Ozone Award for its leading role in negotiating this international agreement.
The Netherlands’ oldest city, Nijmegen, is this year’s European Green Capital, with “a passionate, clear and persuasive vision”, according to the judges of this prestigious competition. Exemplary policies in climate adaptation, cycling, waste and water management, and deep citizen involvement make Nijmegen “a true ambassador for change”, says Joanna Drake, Deputy Director-General of the Commission’s DG Environment.
Common European rules on environment matter in our daily lives – whether they improve air quality, ensure safe drinking water or take care that waste is managed properly. When they are not observed, this can cause considerable economic costs and harm human health and the environment. A new European Commission action plan will help public authorities to promote, monitor and enforce compliance with these rules – known as ‘environmental compliance assurance’.
In the EU, we currently use 100 billion bags per year. This is a tremendous waste because very often they are only used once. Many end up in our oceans and seas. One recent measure in combating this resource waste and littering is the new EU Plastic Bags Directive. It obliges Member States to drastically cut the use of lightweight bags. How are they getting on with this?
Europe’s air quality has improved, but more progress is needed to reduce ammonia emissions, 95 % of which are caused by agriculture. To meet the targets set by the new National Emissions Ceilings Directive, the agricultural sector should use proven cost-effective ways of lowering ammonia emissions, especially on big industrial farms.
Eighteen months after adoption of the Circular Economy Package, delivery is on track. To bring all stakeholders together, the new European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform will be a ‘network of networks’, supporting progress across sectors.
Noise is the second biggest environmental health threat in Europe, according to the World Health Organization. While current EU legislation is broadly ‘fit for purpose’, Member States are not doing enough to implement it. Noise reduction measures are cost-effective, but awareness of the problem and implementing solutions to it remain a challenge.