On 12 May 2021, the European Commission (EC) adopted the EU Action Plan "Towards a Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil", one of the key deliverables of the European Green Deal.
The main objective of this action plan is to provide a compass for including pollution prevention in all relevant EU policies, maximising synergies in an effective and proportionate way, stepping up implementation and identifying possible gaps or trade-offs.
The Action Plan sets out the “zero pollution vision for 2050: a Healthy Planet for All”, foreseeing that “air, water and soil pollution is reduced to levels no longer considered harmful to health and natural ecosystems, also respecting the boundaries our planet can cope with, thus creating a toxic-free environment.
Annexes include a List of Actions & Explanations for the targets set out in the Action Plan. All targets are envisaged to be reached by 2030 and they are listed as follows:
- Reduction by more than 55% the health impacts (premature deaths) of air pollution;
- Reduction by 30% the share of people chronically disturbed by transport noise;
- Reduction by 25% the EU ecosystems where air pollution threatens biodiversity;
- Reduction by 50% nutrient losses, the use and risk of chemical pesticides, the use of the more hazardous ones, and the sale of antimicrobials for farmed animals and in aquaculture;
- Reduction by 50% plastic litter at sea and by 30% microplastics released into the environment;
- Reduction significantly total waste generation and by 50% residual municipal waste
Targets 5 and 6 are especially relevant to the SMART WASTE project and partners should take them into account in the upcoming drafting of their Action Plans.
Conclusions of the Action Plan summarize that by 2025 the Commission will take stock of the degree of implementation of the Plan, building on the second Zero Pollution Monitoring and Outlook Report and that it will identify whether further action is needed to address emerging concerns and review the targets, flagships and actions identified so far, so that this decade sets the EU on the pathway to zero pollution as a key component of the European Green Deal goals.