Europe to Clamp Down on Air and Water Pollution Under Green Deal
(Bloomberg) -- The European Union is aiming to step up its efforts to cut pollution from sectors like industry and agriculture as part of its biggest economic overhaul to date.
The overarching goal is to eliminate all harmful contamination by 2050, reducing pollution to levels that are no longer damage health or natural ecosystems, according to European Commission documents seen by Bloomberg News.
The EU plans to use its recovery program to help steer the economy toward cleaner goods and services, reducing the release of pollutants that can cause diseases like cancer and strokes, threaten biodiversity and contribute to the mass-extinction of species. The commission is due to unveil its proposals on Wednesday.
“Now is the time to be ambitious, to deliver on people’s legitimate aspirations to have their health, environment and livelihoods protected -- and to make peace with our planet,” the commission said in the draft strategy.
The fight against pollution is part of the EU Green Deal, an unprecedented effort to transform the European economy by eliminating greenhouse gases by the middle of the century.
As part of the new roadmap, the EU aims to cut premature deaths from air pollution by more than 55% by 2030 and reduce by almost a third the number of people chronically disturbed by transport noise. It also wants to halve the use of chemical pesticides and the sale of antimicrobials for farmed animals and in aquaculture.
The strategy targets a 50% reduction in the amount of plastic in the sea and a 30% cut in the amount of microplastics released, also by the end of the decade.
“While the lockdown measures to fight the Covid-19 pandemic have led to temporarily cleaner air, waters and reduced noise in many places, slowing down all economic activities is not the way the EU envisions its own and the world’s path towards zero pollution,” the document said. “Instead, the EU can sustain prosperity while transforming production and consumption modes and directing investments towards zero pollution.”
Here are some steps the EU is planning to clean up its economy in the coming decade:
- In 2022, the commission will propose that its quality standards be better aligned with the upcoming World Health Organization recommendations
- To promote sustainable livestock farming, the EU will help place on the market alternative feed materials and innovative feed additives
- The commission is assessing whether to introduce new laws to cap ammonia emissions, for example under the Common Agricultural Policy
- The EU will address air and noise pollution from transport through measures including the new Euro 7 standards for road vehicles
- The commission will propose measures to phase out the most harmful chemicals, such as endocrine disruptors and persistent substances, especially in consumer products
- A revision of EU rules on industrial emissions will seek to accelerate the uptake of zero-pollution innovation
As part of the strategy, the EU will look to showcase and reward best performing cities and regions, while proposing rules to prevent pollution at source, including if necessary through taxation. It will also aim to ensure that by 2030 75% of soils are healthy, according to one of the documents.
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