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The Green Track
Zero Pollution

Protecting the planet through better monitoring, reporting and prevention of pollution

#TheGreenTrack campaign is engaging young Europeans in the fight to build a more sustainable future. It addresses key topics, including zero pollution.

What’s the challenge?

Pollution may be the environmental issue closest to all of us, for a simple reason: pollution damages our health. One in eight premature deaths in the EU is linked to environmental pollution. 90% of these deaths are due to chronic diseases, most often cancer. The most vulnerable groups are hit the hardest, including children, the elderly and those with medical conditions, creating further inequalities.

In addition to affecting people’s health, pollution also harms our environment. Pollution is one of the main reasons for biodiversity loss. It is threatening the survival of more than 1 million of the planet’s estimated 8 million plant and animal species.

Plastics are the largest, most harmful and persistent fraction of marine litter, accounting for at least 85% of total marine waste. Without urgent action, the estimated 11 million metric tons of plastic currently entering the ocean annually will triple in the next 20 years.

What is the EU response?

Pollution comes in many forms, including air, plastic, soil, chemicals, noise and water, and the EU is addressing all of these in an integrated way.

On 12 May 2021, the European Commission adopted the EU Action Plan: "Towards a Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil". This Action Plan will integrate pollution prevention in all relevant EU policies, tightening regulation of air pollution, waste and use of chemicals in an effort to protect public health and address the main causes of biodiversity loss.

In addition, with legislation and other initiatives, the EU is targeting sectors that have traditionally generated a significant share of pollutants, supporting them as they transition to a more sustainable path.

The EU laws and strategies to tackle pollution are:

Chemicals Strategy

the EU’s chemicals strategy for sustainability towards a toxic-free environment

Clean Air

EU action to improve air quality and reduce air pollution

Water

EU action on water issues, to protect water resources

Soil Strategy

proposing concrete measures to achieve healthy soils by 2050

These are supported by other sector-specific and crosscutting initiatives, including:

transforming the way plastic products are designed, produced, used and recycled in the EU

EU action to reduce environmental noise pollution

See how Europe is moving towards zero pollution, in line with the ambition of the European Green Deal.

Get involved

Make sure to follow the campaign events, engage with #TheGreenTrack campaign online and join the next Green Track stops.

Check out the ongoing conversation