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European Maritime Transport Environmental Report 2021

This report provides a factual analysis of the environmental pressures exerted by the maritime transport sector, presents up-to-date information on the relevant EU and international environmental standards and describes current and future actions to reduce the sector's impact on our environment.

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Europe’s marine biodiversity remains under pressure

Europe's seas are precious. Our quality of life, livelihoods and economies depend on them being in good condition. Our seas are home to many species, habitats and ecosystems. They also provide our societies with vital ecosystem services, including food, energy, clean air and climate change mitigation. However, through the continued unsustainable use of Europe’s seas, we have altered their physio-chemical environment, and their habitats and ecosystems. The resilience of our seas is eroding, while their ecosystems, habitats and biodiversity, and the services they provide are under significant threat. This briefing summarises the current state of biodiversity in Europe’s seas.

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Technical assessment of progress towards a cleaner Mediterranean

Monitoring and reporting results for Horizon 2020 regional initiative

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Bathing water management in Europe: Successes and challenges

This report summarises how over 40 years of European environmental policy and management have significantly improved bathing water quality across Europe.

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Water and agriculture: towards sustainable solutions

This report was initiated following the EEA's 2018 assessment of the status of and pressures on European waters, to highlight the role of agriculture in achieving an improved status of surface water and groundwater in future river basin management plans

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Tracking barriers and their impacts on European river ecosystems

The importance of free-flowing rivers that allow free movement of water, sediment, fish and other organisms is increasingly recognised by EU environmental policy, in particular the Water Framework Directive and the biodiversity strategy for 2030. However, the large number of barriers on our rivers has resulted in a loss of river continuity. This briefing addresses the following questions: What is the density of barriers on rivers? What do we know about their impacts on rivers? How can we improve the European knowledge base on barriers in rivers?

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Multiple pressures and their combined effects in Europe’s seas

Europe’s seas are overexploited. Most of Europe’s marine area (93 %) is under multiple pressures from human activities, which have reached the most remote areas. The EU’s maritime economy will not be sustainable unless it is confined to the current ecological limits of marine ecosystems. That means decoupling human activities on land and sea from the degradation and depletion of marine ecosystem capital. This briefing summarises a spatial assessment of the multiple pressures on Europe’s seas (ETC/ICM, 2019a).

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Regional water report

Regional water report

03 Nov 2020

Water resources, surface water quality and water consumption in the Eastern Partnership countries

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Towards a cleaner Mediterranean

This joint EEA and UNEP/MAP report takes stock of the progress achieved and challenges ahead in the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Horizon 2020 initiative for a cleaner Mediterranean (H2020).

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Marine messages II

Marine messages II

25 Jun 2020

This report provides a set of key messages on the current use of Europe's seas and its combined effects on marine ecosystem condition. These messages underpin a set of lessons from marine ecosystem recovery from which solutions for a brighter future can be identified.

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European bathing water quality in 2019

Bathing is an extremely popular and important leisure activity in Europe. This annual assessment of European bathing sites shows how well environmental protection measures are implemented, allowing people to make informed decisions on where to go to best enjoy Europe’s inland and coastal bathing sites.

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Emerging chemical risks in Europe — ‘PFAS’

It is currently not possible to perform in-depth environmental and health risk assessments of all chemical substances in use in Europe because of the great variety of chemicals and their diverse uses. New and legacy chemicals continue to be released into Europe’s environment, adding to the total chemical burden on Europe’s citizens and ecosystems. Early identification of emerging risks is one of the activities of the European Environment Agency (EEA). This briefing summarises the known and potential risks to human health and the environment in Europe posed by a group of very persistent chemicals, the per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS).

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Nutrient enrichment and eutrophication in Europe's seas

This assessment explores whether Europe has been able to reverse eutrophication trends in its regional seas. The assessment is based on publicly available monitoring data, primarily collected in the context of the Water Framework Directive, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and Regional Sea Conventions.

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Urban waste water treatment for 21st century challenges

It is easy to take water for granted. Clean water comes out of a tap, we use the water and then ‘dirty’ water disappears down the drain. In this way, the water that leaves our homes, schools and workplaces is contaminated. For most European citizens, such waste water is collected, transported and then treated at an urban waste water treatment plant, to remove components harmful to the environment and human health, before the water is returned to nature (EEA, 2018). The importance of access to clean water and sanitation is embedded in Goal 6 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN, n.d). Supplying clean water and collecting waste water has required huge investment across Europe in recent decades. In this briefing, we show that challenges to securing sustainable water in future, such as climate change, present new opportunities for resource efficiency and improved environmental protection.

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European Bathing Water Quality in 2018

The report assesses bathing water quality in 2018, indicating where the quality of bathing water is expected to be good in 2019. The report was compiled using information from more than 21 000 bathing waters in the 28 EU Member States. It also covers bathing waters in Albania and Switzerland. The report is a joint production of the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission.

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Contaminants in Europes seas

Moving towards a clean, non-toxic marine environment. This assessment represents a first attempt to map contamination 'problem areas' and 'non-problem areas' at the scale of Europe's seas, while also exploring whether Europe has broken some of the trends for long‑established hazardous substances.

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Industrial waste water treatment  pressures on environment

This report analyses recent data about emissions from industry directly to water bodies as well as to sewage systems and onward to UWWTPs. The analysis focuses on the latest information for 2016, when around 3 600 industrial facilities reported at least one direct or indirect pollutant release to water to the E-PRTR database.

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Mapping Europe's ecosystems

The EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 calls on Member States to carry out a mapping and assessment of ecosystems and their services (MAES, Maes et al., 2013). As such, an EU-wide ecosystem assessment was launched to provide harmonised information on the condition of ecosystems and biodiversity, and their capacity to provide ecosystem services. The assessment will provide data for the final evaluation of the EU biodiversity strategy in 2020. This briefing presents recent progress in mapping broad ecosystem types and their associated habitats at European level.

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Chemicals in European waters

This report’s aim is to improve understanding of which chemicals continue to pose significant risks to the environment, especially when they are present in water. It also looks at how better knowledge and understanding can help to improve controls to minimise harm. The report gives an overview of information about pollutants used in the assessment of water quality under the Water Framework Directive, and describes some of the newer techniques available for the assessment of water quality.

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Why should we care about floodplains?

Rivers are much wider than the channels we associate them with. The areas next to rivers, which are only covered by water during floods, are also part of the river system. Known as floodplains, in their natural condition they are an important ecological part of this system: they filter and store water, secure both natural flood protection and the healthy functioning of river ecosystems, and help sustain the high biological diversity present there.

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