Zero Pollution Going Local 

European Commission and European Committee of the Regions join forces to achieve Zero Pollution  

​​​​​​​​​​​​The European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions have set up the Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform. The objective is to contribute to the EU's zero pollution ambition by reducing air, water and soil pollution to levels that are no longer considered harmful to human health and natural ecosystems. The Platform will help deliver on the flagship initiatives and actions asset out in the Zero Pollution Action Plan, a key pillar of the European Green Deal, the EU's growth strategy to reach climate-neutrality by 2050. Supporting local and regional authorities deploying concrete measures to reduce pollution is a key objective of Green Deal Going Local

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R​ole of the CoR within the Platform

The Committee of the Regions and the European Commission have agreed to co-chair the Platform.

Marieke Schouten, Alderman of the municipality of Nieuwegein and Rapporteur on the opinion on "Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil"​, is Co-chair of this Platform; Markku Markkula, Chair of the Espoo City Board and President of the Helsinki Region is Vice Co-Chair of the Platform.

On the policy front, the European Committee of the Regions has put forward several proposals to deliver on the EU Action Plan: Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil. The CoR's recently adopted opinions on air, water and chemicals, prepared by the Commission for Environment, Climate change and Energy ENVE) , bring the views of local and regional communities to the EU level and feed them into legislative process.

On top of the opinions discussed within its premises, the CoR is also supporting the implementation of zero pollution efforts within its Green Deal Going Local activities and campaign, ensuring that local and regional communities are fully involved in the zero pollution ambition.

Origins of the Platform

The Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform will help deliver on the flagship initiatives and actions set out in the Zero Pollution Action Plan by:

  • bringing together actors from different communities and areas of expertise to tackle inter-related challenges, e.g. strengthening a joint environment and health agenda;
  • defining a common vision on how to achieve zero pollution objectives;
  • developing and sharing good practices on cross-cutting topics such as financing for zero pollution innovation and jobs, boosting sustainable production and consumption, and creating thematic hubs like the Clean Air Tech Hub.

Local and regional authorities have a fundamental role in implementing zero pollution policies on the ground. Their voices are also vital for the policy processes. Local communities see closely the impacts of pollution on people, nature and the economy, and are well placed to bring these concrete experiences to EU level. The involvement of local and regional authorities in the activities of the Platform is thus essential.

Find out more information on the Platform

Find out more information on:

  • actions: how the 9 flagship initiatives of the zero pollution action plan are being implemented.
  • funding opportunities: more information about funding opportunities at the European level
  • knowledge hub​ : Stakeholder Platform will launch a series of “Zero Pollution Talks” and will share good practices from 2022 onwards.​

Background information

The Zero-Pollution Stakeholder Platform aims to effectively mainstream the zero pollution agenda and the implementation of the EU's Zero-Pollution Action Plan. It will bring together stakeholders and experts of different policy areas, such as health, agriculture, research and innovation, transport, digitalisation and the environment. The platform is to create co-ownership, promote collaboration, and foster integrated solutions to maximise synergies with decarbonisation and post-COVID-19 recovery efforts. The Platform is a joint initiative of the European Commission (EC) and the European Committee of the Regions (CoR).

Pollution is the largest environmental cause of mental and physical diseases, and of premature death, especially among vulnerable groups such as children, people with certain medical conditions and older generations. People who live in more deprived areas often live close to contaminated sites or in areas with elevated traffic flows. Pollution is also one of the main reasons for the loss of biodiversity, diminishing the capacity of ecosystems to provide services such as carbon sequestration and air and water decontamination.

Over 100 cities in the EU still do not meet EU air quality standards. According to the EEA’s latest estimates, 307,000 people died prematurely due to exposure to fine particulate matter pollution in the EU in 2019. At least 58%, or 178,000 of these deaths, could have been avoided if all EU Member States had reached the WHO’s new air quality guideline level of 5 µg/m3.

On water, seven EU capital cities do not meet the minimum water quality requirements. Ensuring proper wastewater treatment will require investments of over EUR 200 billion in the coming years ( EC).

Stay tuned for further updates!

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