WOman breathing clean air in a city

European Green Deal: Commission aims for zero pollution in air, water and soil

The European Commission has adopted its action plan aimed at tackling pollution in air, soil and water.

The “EU Action Plan: Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil” is part of the European Green Deal and sets out targets for 2050. It envisages a world where pollution is reduced to levels that are no longer harmful to human health and details the steps needed to get there.

According to a recent European Environment Agency (EEA) report on Health and Environment, every year in the EU over 400,000 premature deaths are likely due to ambient air pollution.

The action plan sets out targets to achieve by 2030 to assist towards the larger goal. These 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.

It proposes actions such as linking EU air quality standards more closely to those recommended by the World Health Organization and promoting zero pollution from production and consumption.

Chair of the European Lung Foundation, Kjeld Hansen, commented: “We welcome the adoption of the EU Action Plan. The research is crystal clear – we know that air pollution causes long-term health problems, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and heart diseases, and also reduces life expectancy. Breathing clean air is essential for our health and we strongly support the goals this plan sets out to achieve.”

Read the original EU press release

Access ELF resources

Learn more about the effects of air pollution on lung health: https://europeanlung.org/en/information-hub/keeping-lungs-healthy/air-quality-breathe-clean-air/