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EU Green Week 2021 - DAY 3 ROUNDUP

PLENTY OF PUNCH BUT NO FATIGUE!

Midway through EU Green Week 2021, and the conference is at cruising speed. The morning’s parallel sessions were followed by the LIFE Awards recognising the most innovative, inspirational and effective EU-funded projects on the environment and climate action.

Dozens of Partner Events took place around Europe and beyond. Browse the full list or scroll down to see what happened at our featured events.

Quote of the day

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us the importance of putting the health of citizens first. Air pollution still causes approximately 400 000 premature deaths per year in Europe and is the biggest environmental risk to health in Europe. We must revise and enhance the directives and EU policies on air quality to effectively protect the health of citizens and ecosystems. The EU institutions cannot remain impassive to this threat.”

 

Javi López, Rapporteur for the European Parliament report on the Ambient Air Quality Directives

EU Green Week Virtual Conference – Day 2

Air pollution was addressed in various sessions throughout the day. At one high-level session (4.1), panellists explored how zero-pollution ambitions translate into revised ambient air quality laws, and how to align EU directives more closely with WHO guidelines. Session 3.1 asked how we can build cleaner, more ‘circular’ industrial plants, and session 3.4 explored the subject of air quality in the Western Balkans.

Chemical pollution featured in sessions about managing chemicals and waste (2.3). Europe’s ability to monitor hazardous chemicals (4.3) was examined and the IPCHEM portal was presented. Session 5.2 called time on the PFAS group of ‘forever chemicals’, such as oil and water repellents, which persist in the environment.

Continuing the monitoring theme, session 4.4 explored how Copernicus satellites can track air quality, CO2 concentrations, water quality and other sources of pollution on earth. And as water was soaked into the fabric of Day 3, participants didn’t want to miss session 6.2 to hear what young people had to say about water pollution.

A LIFE of dedication…

At the top of today’s roundup, we mentioned the LIFE Awards which celebrate inspirational projects in three categories: climate action, environment and nature protection.

The winners were announced during a ceremony today. Hearty congratulations go to:

  • LIFE Climate Action Winner 2021: LIFE FORECCAsT (France) who helped forest managers in the Haut-Languedoc Regional Nature Park put climate change adaptation strategies in place.

  • LIFE Environment Winner 2021: LIFE REUSING POSIDONIA  (Spain) who used dried seagrass as effective and inexpensive thermal insulation in social housing.

  • LIFE Nature Protection Winner 2021: LIFE ENERGY (Slovak Republic) whose team are preventing birds from colliding with power lines by installing flight diverters.

The public also voted for their favourite project in the Citizens’ Award, choosing TARTALIFE  (Italy) which helped to reduce the numbers of sea turtles caught in fishing nets along 15 Italian coastal areas. The work and dedication of young volunteers were recognised in the LIFE4Youth Award, awarded to Italy’s Choose Nature (Choo-na!) project, which saw more than 300 young volunteers take care of  endangered bird species.

 

 

TODAY AROUND EUROPE

Inconvenient (Pollution) Truths… the hidden cost of ‘green’ energy

Inspired by Al Gore’s famous climate change lecture, the European Environment Bureau (EEB), organised this thought-provoking interactive seminar exploring the hidden social and environmental costs as well as inherent limitations of Europe’s ongoing energy transition. Experts painted a picture of the leakages in the proposed system, especially regarding sustainable resource use.

The idea behind this partner event was to collect and refine questions as the basis for building scenarios and simulations to give policymakers a better picture of the hidden costs imbued in Europe’s ‘green’ energy ambitions.

Courtesy: EEB

Sports Against Plastic… a worthy opponent

Young people and teachers in Saint Pierre la Mer, France, teamed up with Surfrider Foundation Europe to show how sport can encourage people to live more healthily and make greener choices.

Sports Against Plastic chose a worthy opponent in this day-long contest of athletic endurance and pure ‘green grit’. The beach event combined sports and environmental challenges in fun and creative ways. The pictures tell the story!

Courtesy: Surfrider Foundation / Aude

EPR Tackling Littering Pollution… it’s the environment at stake!

The idea of extended producer responsibility (EPR) makes manufacturers accountable for products throughout their lifecycle. This Green Week partner event, ‘EPR tackling littering pollution: from obligations to actions!’, unpacks the issues driving green developments in the packaging and paper value chain. Hosted by CITEO, specialists in clean packaging, discussions emphasised concrete actions to tackle the problem of litter, and shared solutions for reducing, sorting, recycling or reusing packaging waste.

Sessions involved MEPs, packaging companies and diverse EPR organisations to gather different perspectives on how to boost the EU’s circular economy, and what the packaging sector can do to be part of the solution.

Courtesy: Clear Rivers, Plastic Fischer, Litterati

COMING UP TOMORROW…

  • An early start for people wanting to learn about the future framework for zero pollution monitoring and outlook.

  • High-level sessions are scheduled in the area of environmental sustainability and equality (7.1), innovative building solutions (9.1), and plastic ocean pollution (film and debate at 16:45).

  • Natura 2000 is launching its new logo for goods and services (9.3), plus tune into the mock trials on the ‘right to clean air’ (11.4).