Climate change, biodiversity loss, overconsumption of resources and pollution are the four ecological crises affecting our planet. The holistic approach of the European Green Deal strategy aims to tackle them. In particular, the Zero Pollution Action Plan for water, air and soil has the objective to secure clean air, water and soil, healthy ecosystems and a healthy living environment for Europeans. The EU needs to better prevent, remedy, monitor and report on water pollution and mainstream the zero pollution ambition into all its policy developments. The aim is to decouple economic growth from the increase of pollution, and strengthen the inter-linkages between environmental protection, sustainable development and people’s health and well-being. In this context, water protection and remediation plays a crucial role. Water is life. It is a precondition for human, animal and plant life as well as an indispensable resource for the economy. Water also plays a fundamental role in the climate regulation cycle.
Experts know what water pollution is, how existing policies act on it, and that the European Green Deal and, more specifically, the Zero Pollution Action Plan provide the necessary momentum to better tackle it. However, policy makers and European Institutions might not be so close to society’s perception of water pollution. Keeping in mind the future of our planet, we need to be able to answer questions such as, what do young professionals think of water pollution and its consequences? Are we considering their perspective, their needs and fears? Learning about younger generations’ views can enrich the way we act and prioritise at policy level, and can teach us lessons on how we want to communicate the Zero Pollution Action Plan. We should be able to transfer conclusions and results of this session to the air and soil policy areas.
Thus, the aim of this session is to connect with and highlight young and fresh perceptions of water pollution. Through collected videos and visual material produced by youngsters that show their views and opinions, we can reflect upon and discuss concrete solutions. The expected results of the sessions are to create positive impacts together with future generations.
- Joanna Drake, Deputy Director-General, Directorate General for Environment, European Commission
- Josefina Maestu, Adviser to the State Secretary, Spanish Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge
- Joana Bacallo, Individual Advocate
- Maros Halama, Vice-Dean for Research, Innovations & International Affairs, Technical University of Kosice
- Jeremy Tormos, IoT Solutions Architect, Birdz
- Veronica Manfredi, Director, Directorate-General for Environment, European Commission
- Naomi Timmer, Director, European Junior Water Programme