EU Commission adopts zero air pollution motion plan

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The European Commission on May 12 adopted the Zero Pollution motion plan, which units out an built-in imaginative and prescient for 2050 the place air pollution is decreased to ranges which might be not dangerous to human well being and pure ecosystems, in addition to the steps to get there.

The EU Action Plan: “Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil” – a key deliverable of the European Green Deal and the principle matter of this 12 months’s EU Green Week – ties collectively all related EU insurance policies to sort out and forestall air pollution, with a particular emphasis on learn how to use digital options to sort out air pollution. Reviews of related EU laws are foreseen to determine remaining gaps in EU laws and the place higher implementation is important to satisfy these authorized obligations.

EU Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans mentioned the Zero Pollution Action Plan “is geared to bringing the way we live, produce, and consume within the boundaries the planet has set. Pollution determines how healthy and how long our lives will be. Zero pollution is at the heart of the Green Deal, closely connected with our strategies such as Farm to Fork and Biodiversity”.

“When we talk about being climate neutral, this is not just about being carbon neutral, but also having zero pollution. That is the only way we can truly become climate neutral and prevent the loss of up to one million species, which we risk doing now. So we urgently need to bring air, water, and soil pollution down,” Timmermans mentioned. “By 2050, we want all to live in a toxic-free environment. There will still be some deposits, but they will have reached a level that no longer is harmful, neither for our health, nor for the planet,” he mentioned, reminding that air pollution within the EU nonetheless results in 1 out of eight deaths. “So, of every eight people dying, one is a result of pollution. Several cancers, heart, and respiratory diseases; they are all linked to pollution. With the most vulnerable in society, like always, suffering the harshest impacts,” he mentioned.

Pollution within the EU and elsewhere is without doubt one of the 5 major drivers of the danger of ecocide. “So it also contributes to the ongoing mass extinction of species. If we don’t deal with this now, our children will have to deal with it, and that will cost a lot more and will be much more difficult,” he mentioned.

“To create a toxic-free environment, we have to look at all sources of pollution. The cars we drive, the way we farm the land, the pesticides we use, the way we heat, power and ventilate our homes, even the noise we still make. It impacts our health and our lives, but it also determines the fate of the species on which all life on earth depends,” Timmermans mentioned. “We need to start understanding that if we talk about nature, we also talk about ourselves. There is no such thing as humanity at one side and nature at the other. We are a component of nature,” he added.

“To give you an example, we want to reduce the health impact of air pollution by more than 55%, and protect biodiversity from air pollution in an extra 25% of our ecosystems. We want to lower the share of people chronically disturbed by transport noise by 30%, and cut in half the loss of nutrients, the use and risk of pesticides, and the sale of antimicrobials for farmed animals and in aquaculture. The action plan also set targets for plastic litter, microplastics, and residual municipal waste,” Timmermans mentioned.

“Our overall guiding principle is to avoid creating pollution. If pollution then becomes unavoidable, it has to be minimized, controlled, and where necessary cleaned up. Stricter enforcement will ensure that measures taken are also followed through. This should also be a clear message to Member States and co-legislators: If you make a decision, and the decision needs enforcement, we will enforce. This is of extreme importance,” Timmermans mentioned.

EU Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius mentioned famous that environmental air pollution negatively impacts individuals’s well being, particularly probably the most weak and socially disadvantaged teams, and can be one of many major drivers of biodiversity loss. “The case for the EU to lead the global fight against pollution is today stronger than ever. With the Zero Pollution Action Plan, we will create a healthy living environment for Europeans, contribute to a resilient recovery and boost transition to a clean, circular and climate neutral economy,” he mentioned.

To steer the EU in direction of the 2050 aim of a wholesome planet for wholesome individuals, the Action Plan units key 2030 targets to scale back air pollution at supply, compared to the present scenario. Namely, bettering air high quality to scale back the variety of untimely deaths brought on by air air pollution by 55%; bettering water high quality by decreasing waste, plastic litter at sea (by 50%) and microplastics launched into the surroundings (by 30%); bettering soil high quality by decreasing nutrient losses and chemical pesticides’ use by 50%; decreasing by 25% the EU ecosystems the place air air pollution threatens biodiversity; decreasing the share of individuals chronically disturbed by transport noise by 30%, and considerably decreasing waste technology and by 50% residual municipal waste.

The Plan outlines plenty of flagship initiatives and actions, together with: aligning the air high quality requirements extra carefully to the newest suggestions of the World Health Organisation, reviewing the requirements for the standard of water, together with in EU rivers and seas, decreasing soil air pollution and enhancing restoration, reviewing the vast majority of EU waste legal guidelines to adapt them to the clear and round financial system ideas, fostering zero air pollution from manufacturing and consumption, presenting a Scoreboard of EU areas’ inexperienced efficiency to advertise zero air pollution throughout areas, scale back well being inequalities brought on by the disproportionate share of dangerous well being impacts now borne by probably the most weak, decreasing the EU’s exterior air pollution footprint by proscribing the export of merchandise and wastes which have dangerous, poisonous impacts in third nations, launching Living Labs for  inexperienced  digital  options  and  sensible  zero air pollution, consolidating the EU’s Knowledge Centres for Zero Pollution and bringing stakeholders collectively within the Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform, stronger enforcement of zero air pollution along with environmental and different authorities.

Jointly with the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability adopted final 12 months, the motion plan interprets the EU’s zero air pollution ambition for a toxic-free surroundings into motion. It goes hand in hand with the EU’s objectives for local weather neutrality, well being, biodiversity and useful resource effectivity and builds on initiatives within the discipline of power, trade, mobility, meals, round financial system, and agriculture.

This 12 months’s EU Green Week, the most important annual occasion on surroundings coverage, on June 1-Four will permit residents throughout the EU to debate zero air pollution from its many angles on the major Brussels convention, on-line and in additional than 600 accomplice occasions.

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