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Environment

Zero pollution action plan

Towards zero pollution for air, water and soil.

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.

    You can track the progress of the individual flagships and actions announced in the Zero Pollution Action Plan:

    See progress on actions

    The Zero Pollution Monitoring and Outlook, published on 8 December 2022, offers a snapshot of the current state of the pollution in the EU, and answers questions on the pollution trends over the past years, and whether we are likely to achieve 2030 zero pollution targets.

    See progress on zero pollution targets

    Timeline

    Previous and upcoming zero pollution actions

    1. September- October 2023
      Adoption of several initiatives on microplastics
    2. 14 July 2023
      Proposal to ban all remaining intentional uses of mercury in the EU
    3. 26 October 2022
      The Commission proposed stronger rules on ambient air, surface and groundwater pollutants, and treating urban wastewater
    4. 11 October 2022
      Third meeting of the Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform
    5. 25 April 2022
      Second meeting of the Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform
    6. 5 April 2022
      Adoption of the legislative package on industrial emissions
    7. 16 December 2021
      First meeting of the Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform
    8. 3 November 2021
      Deadline for the call for expression of interest
    9. 7 October 2021
      Launch of the call for expression of interest for the Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform

      See the call

    10. 4 June 2021
      Launch of the Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform
    11. 31 May - 4 June 2021
      EU Green Week 2021 on the theme of zero pollution
    12. 12 May 2021
      Commission adoption of zero pollution action plan
    13. 10 February 2021
      Stakeholder workshop on the zero pollution action plan
    14. 11 November 2020
      Launch of zero pollution action plan public consultation
    15. 14 October 2020
      Presentation of chemicals strategy
    16. 1 October 2020
      Presentation of zero pollution action plan roadmap
    17. 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.

    News

    Tunnel underground for water
    • News article

    Urban wastewater management agreement

    The Commission welcomed the provisional political deal reached between the European Parliament and Council on the Commission's proposal revising the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive.