EU Green Week 2021 achieves wide-scale mobilisation for healthier people and planet

This year’s edition of the EU Green Week, Europe’s biggest annual environmental event, officially opened by President von der Leyen, closed last Friday with record involvement from across the EU. Dedicated to the EU ambition of a zero pollution environment, 600 partner events in 44 countries around Europe zoomed in on efforts to tackle pollution of air, soil and water. From workshops for kids, discussions on green recovery, hackathons, clean-up actions and citizen engagement activities, the Green Week highlighted the power of small individual actions alongside the structural changes that the European Green Deal aims to bring about. Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, and Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, closed the event. In May, the European Commission presented the EU Zero Pollution Action Plan laying out this vision and proposing actions and targets how to get there. Reducing pollution requires clean choices for regional and urban mobility and energy, investments in buildings and infrastructure, as well as overall spatial planning and land use. The connections between health and environment were at the centre of this year’s edition. On biodiversity and pollution, the message from this Green Week is very clear: reducing pollution from nutrients, pesticides and plastics will be a prerequisite to achieve our biodiversity goals. Other priorities highlighted were sustainable production and consumption as well as the matter of social justice when fighting for zero pollution as the most vulnerable groups are hit the hardest. The Commission and the European Committee of the Regions have also launched a Stakeholder Platform to help implement the Zero Pollution Action Plan since cities and regions have a key role to play in translating this vision into action on the ground. More information is in this news item.