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Environment

Zero pollution action plan

Towards zero pollution for air, water and soil.

Zero pollution ambition

Pollution harms our health and our environment. It 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.

In addition to affecting people’s health, pollution is 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.

The public health, environmental, moral and socio-economic case for the EU to lead the global fight against pollution is today stronger than ever.

On 12 May 2021, the European Commission adopted the EU Action Plan: "Towards a Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil" (and annexes) - a key deliverable of the European Green Deal. You can get more information and get involved in the implementation of the Action Plan through the Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform

Objectives

The zero pollution vision for 2050 is for air, water and soil pollution to be reduced to levels no longer considered harmful to health and natural ecosystems, that respect the boundaries with which our planet can cope, thereby creating a toxic-free environment.

This is translated into key 2030 targets to speed up reducing pollution at source. These targets include:

  • improving air quality to reduce the number of premature deaths caused by air pollution by 55%;
  • improving water quality by reducing waste, plastic litter at sea (by 50%) and microplastics released into the environment (by 30%);
  • improving soil quality by reducing nutrient losses and chemical pesticides’ use by 50%;
  • reducing by 25% the EU ecosystems where air pollution threatens biodiversity;
  • reducing the share of people chronically disturbed by transport noise by 30%, and 
  • significantly reducing waste generation and by 50% residual municipal waste.

The action plan aims to strengthen the EU green, digital and economic leadership, whilst creating a healthier, socially fairer Europe and planet. It provides a compass to mainstream pollution prevention in all relevant EU policies, to step up implementation of the relevant EU legislation and to identify possible gaps.

    Actions

    The European Green Deal announced headline actions on zero pollution.

    Timeline

    Previous and upcoming zero pollution actions

    1. 16 December 2021
      First meeting of the Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform
    2. 3 November 2021
      Deadline for the call for expression of interest
    3. 7 October 2021
      Launch of the call for expression of interest for the Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform

      See the call

    4. 4 June 2021
      Launch of the Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform
    5. 31 May - 4 June 2021
      EU Green Week 2021 on the theme of zero pollution
    6. 12 May 2021
      Commission adoption of zero pollution action plan
    7. 10 February 2021
      Stakeholder workshop on the zero pollution action plan
    8. 11 November 2020
      Launch of zero pollution action plan public consultation
    9. 14 October 2020
      Presentation of chemicals strategy
    10. 1 October 2020
      Presentation of zero pollution action plan roadmap
    11. 11 December 2019
      Presentation of the European Green Deal

    Policy areas

    • Air : EU action to improve air quality and reduce air pollution.
    • Chemicals : EU action to ensure chemicals are safe, for health and the environment.
    • Circular economy: The EU’s transition to a circular economy with a focus on green growth.
    • Industrial emissions : EU action to make industry more sustainable and reduce industrial emissions.
    • Marine and coastal environment : EU action to protect Europe’s coasts, seas and oceans.
    • Nature and biodiversity: EU action on environmental conservation and protection.
    • Noise : EU action to reduce environmental noise pollution.
    • Plastics : EU action on plastic production and pollution to contribute to a circular economy.
    • Soil and land : EU action for the sustainable use of soil and land.
    • Water : EU action on water issues, to protect water resources.

    Events