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EU Green Week puts the spotlight on zero pollution

Credit: Dan Meyers, Unsplash

The EU Green Week 2021 kicks off this week, running from 31 May to 4 June. The focus this year will be on pollution, the largest environmental cause of multiple mental and physical diseases and of premature deaths, especially among children, people with certain medical conditions and the elderly.

EU Green Week comes hot on the heels of the Commission’s adoption of the EU Action Plan: ‘Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil‘ – a key deliverable of the European Green Deal.

This Action Plan sets out an integrated vision for 2050: a world where pollution is reduced to levels that are no longer harmful to human health and natural ecosystems, as well as the steps to get there. The plan ties together all relevant EU policies to tackle and prevent pollution, with a special emphasis on how to use digital solutions to tackle pollution.

Commenting, Virginijus  Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries said: “Environmental pollution negatively affects our health, especially of the most vulnerable and socially deprived groups, and is also one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss. We see that pollution is an issue that Europeans care very deeply about, as an unprecedented number of partner events are taking place across Europe this year. I am convinced that this year’s Green Week will be an inspiring and mobilising success and it will show the EU’s ambition to lead global action against pollution.”

The mostly virtual EU Green Week will consist of a launch event in European Green Capital, Lahti (Finland), a high-level virtual conference, a virtual exhibition area, and more than 600 partner events all around Europe.

As the biggest European annual event on environmental policy, the various interactive events will explore possibilities to make the EU’s zero pollution ambition a reality, and allowing for citizens across the EU to discuss zero pollution from its many angles.

Highlights include:

– A high-level opening session including an inspiring discussion with renowned artists, a famous chef and football representatives who will explain why they are also engaged in creating a world without pollution.

– A high-level session exploring how to upgrade the ambition of EU Air Quality legislation, notably how to align the EU air quality standards more closely with the World Health Organization recommendations.

– The launch of the zero pollution stakeholder platform, to bring together stakeholders and experts of different policy areas.

– The launch of the Consumer Footprint Calculator developed by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre to allow citizens to calculate their environmental footprint.

– A screening of the documentary ‘Trapped by Plastics‘ followed by a panel debate on how we can end marine plastic pollution.

– The results of the Gen-E Fights for Zero Pollution hackathon where ten teams of students will come up with innovative solutions to prevent pollution.

– The EU LIFE Awards, recognising the most innovative, inspirational and effective LIFE projects in the fields of nature protection, environment and climate action.

– Discussions on removing environmental pressures to set global biodiversity on a path to recovery at COP 15 in Kunming.

For the full programme check here.