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In support of the 2011 'Environment for Europe' Ministerial Conference in Astana, EEA has prepared Europe's environment — An Assessment of Assessments (EE-AoA). This report provides a comprehensive overview of available sources of environmental information across the region which directly relate to the themes in focus at the Conference, water and related ecosystems, and green economy.
Chemicals are an essential part of our daily lives and are used to produce consumer goods, to protect or restore our health and to boost food production, to name but a few examples. Some chemicals, however, are hazardous, raising concerns for the environment and human health. Hazardous substances are emitted to fresh and marine waters via a number of pathways and can have detrimental effects on aquatic biota. Humans can be exposed to hazardous substances in water through the ingestion of contaminated drinking water and the consumption of contaminated freshwater fish and seafood. A wide range of legislation now exists in Europe to address the release of hazardous substances to the environment, including water. New challenges exist, however, including the issues of chemical mixtures and emerging pollutants.
This report summarises existing knowledge of climate change impacts on water services and health; the nature and effectiveness of the policy response; and the coverage and gaps in existing assessments of these themes.
Annual summary report of bathing water quality in EU Member States. Detailed data are available via EEA WISE bathing water site.
The continuing presence of a range of pollutants in a number of Europe's freshwaters threatens aquatic ecosystems and raises concerns for public health. Current reporting under the EU Water Framework Directive shows that a substantial proportion of Europe's freshwaters are at risk of not achieving the aim of 'good status' by 2015. Driven by the EU Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD), improvements in the collection and treatment of wastewater in some regions of Europe have led to a reduction in the discharge of some pollutants to fresh and coastal waters. Challenges remain, however, because UWWTD implementation remains incomplete and other significant sources of water pollution exist, especially agriculture and urban storm flows. The implementation of effective and timely measures, required under the WFD, needs to encompass a greater focus on controls 'at source' and the efficient use of resources including water, energy and chemicals.
Europe's freshwaters are affected by water scarcity, droughts, floods and physical modifications. Many water bodies are at risk of failing to meet the aim of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) to achieve good status by 2015. Future policies should encourage demand management through actions such as increasing water efficiency. In addition, water management will benefit from applying an ecosystems perspective, using floodplains and groundwater aquifers for storing water, and making room (space) for rivers.
Key messages: 1) As an interface between land and sea, European coastlines provide vital resources for wildlife, but also for the economy and human health and well-being. 2) Multiple pressures, including habitat loss and degradation, pollution, climate change and overexploitation of fish stocks, affect coastal ecosystems. 3) Coastal habitat types and species of Community interest are at risk in Europe; two thirds of coastal habitat types and more than half of coastal species have an unfavourable conservation status. 4) Integrated and ecosystem-based approaches provide the foundation for sustainable coastal management and development, supporting socio-economic development, biodiversity and ecosystem services. Coordinated action at the global, regional and local levels will be key to sustainable management of coastal ecosystems.
Annual summary report of bathing water quality in EU Member States.
Marine ecosystems provide key services both globally and locally, which are essential for maintaining life on our planet. However, marine biodiversity faces an unprecedented range of pressures. In recent years climate change has caused changes in species distribution and presents new challenges for marine biodiversity as oceans become more acidic.
Freshwater ecosystems in Europe are rich in biodiversity but at risk. They provide essential ecosystem services to humans, such as cleaning water, preventing floods, producing food, providing energy and regulating freshwater resources...
Signals takes us on a journey, following the course of water from the glaciers of the Alps to the permafrost of the Arctic and the delta of the Ganges. We travel to familiar and far-flung places, looking at how we can rebuild our relationships with the crucial elements of everyday life— water, soil, air — and the animals and plants that make up the tapestry of life on Earth.
Drawing on the most recent knowledge of climate change impacts in the Alps and experiences across the region, this report analyses the risks that climate change presents to the region's water supply and quality, identifying needs, constraints, opportunities, policy levers and options for adaptation. It extracts policy guidance on adaptation practice and aims to assist regional and local stakeholders in developing robust adaptation strategies. The focus of the report is on water resources and related adaptation, rather than water-related extreme events like floods, avalanches, landslides or mudflows, which are already well covered by existing studies of climate change impacts in the Alps.
Quality of bathing water — 2008 bathing season
This report provides an up-to-date assessment of water resources across Europe.
In this report, we underline the changes that have occurred in the environment and socio-economic context to help explain many of the environmental trends that have been observed. We identify successes and improvements but also register old legacies that need further effort such as, in particular, air pollution, water issues and contaminated sites. New threats, which challenge piecemeal solutions and call for integrated strategic measures at European and global levels, are described such as persistent chemicals in the environment, biodiversity loss, sustainable production and consumption and climate change. And a new overview is given of the state of European marine areas and inland seas.
Assessing water quality in Europe using stratification techniques — Results of a prototype application using French data23 Jul 2007
Following the principles of the European Thematic Strategy on the Protection and Conservation of the Marine Environment, the collective interest of EEA and UNEP/MAP has been developed towards a product focusing on priority pollution zones in the Mediterranean Sea and addressing emerging issues. All these issues come under the prism of an ecosystem approach. The core of this report derives from the latest (2003–2004) country National Diagnostic Analyses reports (NDA).