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Destination 4: Clean environment and zero pollution

There are 5 topic calls already published on the funding and tenders portal. These topic calls have deadline: 22 February 2024 .

Anthropogenic pollution undermines the integrity of Earth’s ecosystems and severely affects natural resources essential for human life. Keeping our planet clean and our ecosystems healthy will not only contribute to addressing the climate crisis but also help regenerate biodiversity, ensure the sustainability of primary production activities and safeguard the well-being of humankind.

In line with the objectives of the European Green Deal and the related initiatives targeting environmental challenges, particularly the EU zero pollution action plan, the 2030 Climate Target Plan, and other relevant EU legislation, this destination seeks to halt and prevent pollution by focusing on removing the pollution of fresh and marine waters, soils, air, including from nitrogen and phosphorus emissions, on substituting harmful chemicals, on improving the environmental sustainability and circularity of bio-based systems as well as on reducing environmental impacts and pollution from food systems. 

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Proposals for topics under this destination should set out a credible pathway that helps to halt and eliminate pollution to guarantee clean and healthy soils, air, fresh and marine water for all and ensure that natural resources are used and managed in a sustainable and circular manner. To reach this objective, it will be vital to advance the knowledge of pollution sources and pathways to enable preventive measures to be rolled out, improve sustainability and circularity, apply planetary boundaries in practice and introduce effective remediation methods. To this end, the following is required:

  • move towards achieving clean, unpolluted surface water and groundwater bodies in the EU and Associated Countries by increasing understanding of diffuse and point sources of water pollution in a global and climate change context, enabling novel solutions to avoid degradation and restore water bodies, aquatic ecosystems and soil functionality, and further improve the quality and management of water for safe human and ecological use, while strengthening the EU’s and Associated Countries’ positions and roles in the global water scene;
  • balance N/P flows within safe ecological boundaries at regional and local level, helping restore ecosystems;
  • move towards achieving clean, unpolluted oceans and seas, including in the Arctic, by means of successful scientific, technological, behavioural, socio-economic, governance and green-blue transitions;
  • strengthen circular bio-based systems to operate within planetary boundaries, replacing fossil-based systems and their carbon footprint, mitigating climate change, and restoring biodiversity and protecting air, water and soil quality along the supply chain of biological feedstocks and industrial value chains within the EU and Associated Countries and across borders;
  • substitute harmful chemicals for safer and more sustainable alternatives, notably by boosting innovative biotechnology and other sustainable technologies to create zero-pollution bio-based solutions;
  • reduce the environmental impact of food systems, e.g. by increasing knowledge of the environmental and climate impacts stemming from the food systems and reducing pollution from plastic food packaging.
Policies and Strategies  Link Link
EU Action Plan: Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil  pdf  
The 2030 Climate target plan pdf  
A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy pdf pdf
The Maritime Policy pdf pdf
Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability Towards a Toxic-Free Environment pdf  
Directives and Regulations     
Water Framework Directive  website  
Other Initiatives     
Soils Mission Implementation Plan   pdf  
Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030 pdf