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Environment
1 October 2020 | Brussels | Directorate-General for Environment

Commission outlines road to Zero Pollution Action Plan

Today the European Commission launched the roadmap on an EU Action Plan “Towards a Zero Pollution Ambition for air, water and soil – building a Healthier Planet for Healthier People”. As a key pillar of the European Green Deal, the Zero Pollution Ambition goes hand in hand with all Green Deal objectives and will build on initiatives in the field of energy, industry, mobility, agriculture, biodiversity, and in particular climate. The roadmap outlines EU plans to achieve zero pollution by better preventing, remedying, monitoring and reporting on pollution.

EU Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said:

Pollution affects everybody – through the air we breathe, the water we drink or the land we grow our food on. This needs to change. We need to mainstream our Zero Pollution Ambition into all EU policies. Achieving zero pollution is good for our health, good for the environment, but also for the economy as it has the potential to create ample green business opportunities and accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

The roadmap for the Zero Pollution Action Plan maps the following key areas to be explored:

  1. Implementation and enforcement – how public authorities, businesses and citizens can use EU rules on pollution more effectively 
  2. Existing legislation related to health and environment
  3. Monitoring and governance of pollution prevention and reduction policies – how monitoring and governance can be strengthened both at EU and international level
  4. Societal change – exploring digital solutions and other means to drive the shift to more sustainable solutions in our society

The roadmap on the Zero Pollution Action Plan is open for feedback for 4 weeks until 29 October 2020. Feedback will be taken into account for further development and fine-tuning of the initiative.

 

Background

Pollution is the largest environmental cause of multiple mental and physical diseases, and of premature deaths, especially among children, people with certain medical conditions and the elderly. People who live in more deprived areas often live close to contaminated sites, or in areas where there is a very high flow of traffic.

In addition to affecting people’s health, pollution is also one of the main reasons for the loss of biodiversity. It reduces the ability of ecosystems to provide services such as carbon sequestration and decontamination.

According to a recent EEA report on Health and Environment, in the EU,  every year over 400 000 premature deaths (including from cancers) are attributed to ambient air pollution, and 48 000 cases of ischaemic heart disease as well as 6.5 million cases of chronic sleep disturbance to noise, next to other diseases attributable to both.

Details

Publication date
Author
Directorate-General for Environment
Location
Brussels