The reduction of water pollutants: a crucial part for health and environment


The European Commission presented on 26 October its “Zero Pollution Package”. Besides the ambitious proposal for a new Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD), the Commission also proposes to update the lists of surface water and groundwater pollutants and a revision of EU ambient air quality legislation.

As the executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, said: “Our health depends on our environment. An unhealthy environment has direct and costly consequences for our health. […] The longer we wait to reduce this pollution, the higher the costs to society. By 2050, we want our environment to be free of harmful pollutants. That means we need to step up action today. Our proposals to further reduce water and air pollution are a crucial piece of that puzzle.

The updated list of surface water and groundwater pollutants includes a stricter control of pollutants. 25 substances hazardous for the environment and human health were added, covering PFAS, several pesticides (e.g. glyphosate), Bisphenol A as well as pharmaceuticals and antibiotics. Moreover, the Commission proposes mandatory downstream river basin warnings after incidents, an improvement regarding monitoring and reporting and the possibility of easier updates to keep it updated with future studies.

If you would like to find out more, take a look at the NextGen policy brief on the UWWTD. The project aims to boost sustainability and bring new market dynamics throughout the water cycle.

You can also check out the factsheet on the Review of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive and factsheet on Surface Water and Groundwater Pollutants.


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