Take action

Achieving a pollution-free planet needs the contribution of all. Not only we need to prevent and reduce pollution from all sources, but we also need system-wide transformations, changing production and consumption models in ways that prevent pollution. The Implementation Plan Towards a Pollution-Free Planet identifies five broad areas where gaps and challenges persist and where high impact solutions and accelerators are needed.

  1. Air pollution +
    • Develop air quality policies and strategies at the subnational, national and regional levels to comply with World Health Organization air quality guidelines
    • Invest in air quality monitoring networks, assessment systems, institutional capacity and information disclosure to the wider public in order to address gaps in capacity, data, information and awareness
    • Reduce emissions from major industrial and manufacturing sources
    • Adopt and enforce advanced vehicles emissions standards
    • Develop and adopt electric and hybrid vehicles
    • Provide access to public transport and nonmotorized transport infrastructure in cities
    • Increase investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency
    • Improve access to clean cooking fuels and green technologies for residential heating
    • Protect and restore ecosystems to avoid erosion, fires and dust storms
    • Reduce emissions of ammonium and methane from agriculture
    • Designate and expand green spaces in urban areas
    • Enhance climate change activities of governments and businesses to better tackle local and regional pollution
  2. Water pollution +
    • Increase treatment, recycling and reuse of wastewater to reduce the amount of untreated wastewater discharged into freshwater bodies by at least 50 per cent by 2030
    • Adopt and enforce national guidelines for freshwater ecosystem management to protect and restore wetlands and other natural systems that contribute to water purification
    • Establish, improve and harmonize (in situ) water quality and quantity (flow) monitoring systems in surface water and groundwater
    • Define national and water-body standards to provide an ongoing picture of the quality of available water resources and to identify opportunities and risks in relation to human and ecosystem health
    • Improve data collection and sharing, build capacity for data quality assurance and control and make information on water quality freely available to the public
    • Provide safe drinking water and access to sanitation for all by 2030
  3. Land/soil pollution +
    • Adopt agroecological practices and integrated pest management and establish guidelines for the reduction and efficient use of fertilizers and environmentally friendly pesticides in agriculture
    • Reduce point-source pollutants, such as heavy metals from industry, and diffuse pollutants including pesticides and inefficiently used fertilizers in agriculture
    • Reduce the use of antimicrobials, including antibiotics in the livestock sector, to avoid unintended releases into the environment and food chain, and increase public awareness and international collaboration on research and product development
    • Invest in building the knowledge of all those associated with the design, construction, operation and closure of tailings dams
    • Remediate contaminated sites
    • Invest in long-term environmental monitoring following industrial closures
  4. Marine and coastal pollution +
    • Do not discharge untreated wastewater and reduce excess nutrient runoff from agricultural systems into the marine environment
    • Restore and conserve coastal ecosystems and wetlands to reduce the amount of excess nutrients and other pollutants such as heavy metals entering coastal and marine environments
    • Prevent and reduce marine litter, including microplastics, and harmonize monitoring and assessment methodologies to facilitate the adoption of reduction targets
    • Reduce or phase out the use of certain types of plastic (for example: microbeads, packaging, single-use plastics) and promote their recovery
    • Develop efficient governance frameworks and strategies for the prevention and minimization of the generation of marine plastic litter, in particular from land-based sources, and make producers more responsible for the sustainable design, recovery, recycling and environmentally sound disposal of their products
    • Regulate the leaking of radioactive waste into the ocean
    • Establish waste collection systems in coastal areas and monitor programmes for marine litter to inform upstream interventions
  5. Chemicals and waste +
    • Adopt sound chemicals management and advance sustainable chemistry within business approaches, policies and practices
    • Improve the enforcement of existing regulations on the transboundary movement of hazardous waste, in particular toxic waste streams from developed to developing countries
    • Increase efforts to deploy locally safe, effective, affordable and environmentally sound alternatives to chemicals of concern, including DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), asbestos, lead and mercury
    • Accelerate the implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions, the Minamata Convention and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management in a coordinated manner at the national level
    • Establish and strengthen pollutant release and transfer registers to measure progress and provide baseline data on chemical emissions
    • Provide reliable and effective consumer information on the impacts of consumer products throughout their life cycles
    • Introduce eco-labelling schemes
    • Introduce producer responsibility schemes to collect, treat and safely recycle waste from production and consumption
    • Improve knowledge relating to chemicals in products throughout their life cycle (production, use, consumption and disposal
    • Extend product lives
    • Reduce exposure to lead from battery recycling, pottery, ammunition, paint and contaminated sites
    • Phase out mercury use in a number of specific products by 2020 and manufacturing processes by 2025, and phase down use in dental amalgams and mining
    • Phase out the production and use of asbestos and ensure its sound disposal
    • Accelerate efforts to eliminate PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) to meet the Stockholm Convention deadlines for phasing out the substances by 2025 and disposing of them completely by 2028
    • Increase publicly available information and monitor data on the presence of chemicals in the environment, in humans and in pollution hotspots
    • Minimize the generation of waste, and improve its collection, separation, reuse, recycling, recovery and final disposal through policy frameworks and regulations at the national and subnational levels
    • Eliminate uncontrolled dumping and open burning of waste
    • Increase material and energy recovery of waste, including through recycling
    • Reduce food waste throughout value chains, including at the consumer level