EU Zero Pollution Action Plan

Launched on 12 May, the European Commission’s new Zero Pollution Action Plan sets out broad 2030 targets covering air, water, soil, biodiversity, noise and waste – but green groups argue it contains little in the way of concrete new commitments or targets.

The 2030 targets for air pollution include reducing the number of premature deaths attributed to air pollution by 55 per cent, and reducing by a quarter “the EU ecosystems where air pollution threatens biodiversity”, in both cases compared to base year 2005. The Commission also said it planned to bring limits for air pollution more closely in line with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

But civil society was largely unimpressed by the plan. The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) said it “falls short on ramping up action to prevent pollution at source and instead mainly lists existing legal obligations and ongoing reviews”. The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) said “What is urgently needed is full alignment of EU’s legally binding air quality standards with the regularly updated WHO guidelines and the latest science.”

Sources: ENDS Europe Daily and EurActiv, 12 May 2021. More information:


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