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22 December 2021
PREVENT, - Air Quality

On December 16th EFA participated in the launch of the EU Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform (ZPSP) a High-Level event organized by the European Commission and the Committee of Regions. The Platform is an integral part of the European Green Deal and has been built to bring together key stakeholders addressing pollution from different policy angles (e.g., health, agriculture, research and innovation, transport, digitalization, and the environment). Of the 27 stakeholders there are 5 health organisations, including EFA. Allergy and airways diseases patients’ needs will be represented in the platform by EFA Policy Advisor Panagiotis Chaslaridis.

The Zero Pollution Action Plan for Water, Air and Soil – a key deliverable of the European Green Deal –was adopted on 12 May 2021. It sets out an integrated vision for 2050 to reduce pollution to levels that are no longer harmful to human health and natural ecosystems, as well as intermediary targets for 2030, and actions to achieve the objectives.

The Platform will serve to mainstream the Zero Pollution Action Plan agenda, help create co-ownership, promote collaboration, and foster integrated solutions and actions that maximise synergies with decarbonisation and post-COVID 19 recovery efforts.

EFA’s will mainly offer our expertise on the health effects of air pollution, but as an organisation representing 200 million people living with allergy, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), we are also interested in learning about the impacts of soil and water pollution.

During the launch event of the ZPSP, EFA presented our expectations on the role of the ZPSP from the perspective of allergy and respiratory disease patients. EFA pressed the need to leverage existing evidence on the burden of air pollution from economic, environmental, and social points of view: science-based action should be at the core of the ZPSP and the implementation of the plan.

EFA also made suggestions to the European Commission on how to implement the Plan, such as:

  • To accelerate policy action towards the enforcement of zero air pollution at national and local level (Flagship 5 - Enforcing zero pollution together),
  • To better integrate and target information on pollution towards the public – especially vulnerable groups (Flagship 1 - Reducing health inequalities through zero pollution), and
  • Too conduct and present continuous evaluation of the actions that are implemented to ensure functionality (Flagship 2 - Supporting urban zero pollution action).

The President of the European Committee of the Regions and Governor of the Region of Central Macedonia in Greece, Apostolos Tzitzikostas said: “Pollution is the leading environmental cause of disease and premature death around the world and is impacting our climate, ecosystems, built environment and local economies. Pollution does not stop at borders and hits the health and wellbeing of our local communities. By co-chairing the Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform, we are committed to making the EU work to support every city, region and village.”

As the only stakeholder representing patients, EFA looks forward to the upcoming stakeholder workshop in February 2022 to ensure patients’ voices and needs are central to the initiatives of the 2022-2024 work Programme.

More information on the Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform (ZPSP). Watch the recording of the high-level launch of the ZPSP (EFA’s intervention at 11:02).

Don’t hesitate reading about EFA’s engagement with the Zero Pollution Action Plan (ZPAP).