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Zero Pollution Action Plan Opinion

All Policies for a Healthy Europe welcomes the strong acknowledgement in the Zero Pollution Action Plan of the important impact of environmental pollution on public health. Our coalition recognises the Action Plan as a major milestone for the European Commission and the EU in regards to tackling pollution. In particular, All Policies for a Healthy Europe strongly supports the paradigm shift prioritising prevention action presented in the Action Plan.

We encourage the Commission to take further action towards bridging the gap between the recognition of the interlinks between pollution and environmental and human health, and achieving a Healthy Planet for All.

Building on the Zero Pollution Action Plan’s objective of improving environmental and human health and well-being, we call for the Commission to fully leverage all the actions identified in the annex to the Action Plan as clear opportunities to deliver on All Policies for a Healthy Europe‘s recommendation to systematically include the assessment and advancement of health outcomes in all EU policies.

Our coalition looks forward to continuing our engagement with the European Commission and other stakeholders to raise awareness of the economic case for acting on pollution. In this regard, our coalition welcomes NextGenerationEU as a unique opportunity to achieve the Commission’s vision of a toxic free environment through an ambitious recovery plan allowing to overcome challenging externalities and trade-offs.

To support the European Commission in its ambition, our coalition will pursue fostering collaboration between all levels of public and private actors to achieve environmental health, and identify concrete ways to measure the impact of environmental degradation on citizens’ health and well-being. In this regard, All Policies for a Healthy Europe welcomes the OECD report on “The Inequalities-Environment Nexus: Towards a people-centred transition”, which provides a better understanding of the impacts of environmental degradation within vulnerable households. Furthermore, our coalition focused its EU Green Week Partner Event on knowledge sharing on ways to measure environmental and climate change impact on human health as to further improve their interlinkages’ comprehension. The recording of the session can be accessed here.

We support the statements of Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius (Environment, Oceans and Fisheries) who highlighted during our coalition’s EU Green Week Partner Event Towards Zero Pollution: Measuring Citizens’ Health and Well-being on June 11, 2021 that “1 in 8 deaths in the EU is linked to environmental pollution […]” and that “we all recognize the moral obligation to do better and radically increase the level of environmental ambition. Our vision for the Zero Pollution Ambition is that by 2050, we live in a toxic free environment […], recognizing that, to get there, we have many challenges to tackle along the way.”

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