Our health is influenced by a variety of factors, but environment pollutants influence around 25 to 33% of these problems.
The 6th Environmental Action Plan (EAP)
The EU adopted, in 2002, the 6th Environmental Action Plan (EAP), a new environmental strategy that outlines the priorities for action on the environment in the coming years. ‘Environment 2010: Our future, our choices’ sets up four main priority areas for action:
- climate change
- nature and bio-diversity
- environment and health
- sustainable use of natural resources and waste
It also seeks ways to involve citizens and relevant stakeholders in the process of policy making and to make decisions on the basis of sound science.
Seven thematic EU strategies
To tackle more specific environmental problems in the most cost-effective way, the EU will also adopt seven thematic strategies:
- Air Pollution
- Prevention and Recycling of Waste
- Protection and Conservation of the Marine Environment
- Sustainable Use of Pesticides
- Sustainable Use of Resources
- Urban Environment
Each strategy will be founded on thorough research and science, and will set clear environmental objectives to be achieved by 2020.
Children’s Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe (CEHAPE)
The World Health Organisation (WHO) adopted in May 2004, at the fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, the Children’s Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe (CEHAPE). This plan sets concrete measures to reduce the impact on children’s health of air pollution, water, chemicals and injuries. CEHAPE will be implemented through National Children’s Environment and Health Action Plans.
As a response to this conference, the European Commission published its Environment and Health Action Plan 2004-2010. The EU plan was received with some disappointment as no concrete actions were proposed. It was also criticised for its lack of positive actions in the face of scientific evidence. Progress on implementation is being reported to a Consultative Forum set up by the Commission.
5th Framework Programme for Research
Research to establish the effects of environmental pollution and health has also been encouraged by the EU. Under its 5th Framework Programme for Research, the European Community funded projects to study the links between air pollution and ill-health.
Directorate General for the Environment website
The European Commission – Directorate General for the Environment, started a new service to improve the dissemination of research results and to reinforce the links between science and policy. Policy makers and general public can now learn more about the environment and research by visiting the new website.