.EU Towards Zero Pollution
By Ingemar Pongratz
Recently, the European Union (EU) and the European Commission presented a new Communication on pollution. This Communication presents the EU vision how to address this pressing societal problem.
The Commission highlights that environmental problems are major contributors of heart disease, stroke, autoimmune diseases, cancer, etc. In fact, the commission states that environmental polllution are connected 20% of all deaths in Europe. Reducing environmental problems will:
- lead to considerable health benefits
- increased quality of life for all Europeans
- likely reduce costs for the EEU health care system
In addition, pollution is coupled to other pressing societal problems. Pollution is closely connected with the growing loss of biodiversity. Pollution is one of the five main drivers of biodiversity loss. In addition, exposure to environmental pollutants affects poses a long term threat to children and their cognitive and physical development.
The EU presents the vision for the future in the “EU Action Plan: ‘Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil‘”.
The Communication presents the vision that by 2050, air, water and soil pollution levels should be below harmful levels, both to human health and to natural ecosystems. Furthermore, there are links between the European Green Deal and the UN Sustainable Development Agenda . The aims are to:
- Reduce the number of deaths caused by pollution by 55%
- Lower chronic disease caused by pollution by 30%
- Improve soil quality and reduce nutrient losses by reducing use of pesticides and antimicrobials by 50%
- Reduce plastic waste by 50%
- Reduce pollution in EU ecosystems by 35%
- Lower waste generation significantly
The EU farming Unions are supportive of these goals and stress the key function of protecting soil health for agriculture. In addition, the farming union highlight the key role of research and innovation to find efficient strategies to achieve the EU vision.
Indeed, the EU Action Plans calls for more research and more innovation. The environment and the European public requires tangible solutions to reduce pollution. It will be important to exploit research findings in the form of new products and services to reduce pollution.
The Commission expects that novel Clean Production Processes, New Recycling strategies and new technologies are necessary to reduce exposure to pollution and harmful chemicals. The EC highlights the need to implement previous research finding into policy and into innovative market solutions. In addition, the EC states that additional research is necessary to achieve the goal to reduce pollution. New partnerships and research mission will be important to identify suitable research topics. In particular, the Soil Health mission and Healthy Oceans mission will be important channels for future research to achieve the EU Towards Zero Pollution Action Plan goals.
The connection between the Horizon Europe Research scheme and the EU Towards Zero Pollution Action Plan is clear and we can expect a number of calls to support research and innovation needs in this area.
Ingemar Pongratz is founder of Fenix Scientific AB / Pongratz Consulting. We support enterprises and universities to apply for public funding in particular from different EU sources. Ingemar Pongratz has also co-founded Letavis AB, a Life Science SME that develops new safe solutions for the agricultural sectors. If you are interested in our services please visit the contact information page to find our contact information