Proposal for a Directive on Environmental Quality Standards in the field of Water Policy

COM (2006) 397 final amending Directive 2000/60/EC

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Chemical pollution of surface water can disturb aquatic ecosystems, causing loss of habitats and biodiversity. Pollutants may accumulate in the food chain, and harm predators consuming contaminated fish. Humans are exposed to pollutants through the aquatic environment by fish or seafood consumption, drinking water and possibly recreational activities. Pollutants may be found in the environment many years after being banned; some may be transported long distances and can be found in remote areas. Pollutants may be released to the environment from various sources (e.g. agriculture, industry, incineration), as products or as unintended by-products, they may be of historical nature or used daily in household products. Article 16 of the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC (WFD) sets out a strategy for dealing with chemical pollution of water. As a first step of this strategy, a list of priority substances was adopted (Decision 2455/2001/EC) identifying 33 substances of priority concern at Community level. This proposal aims to ensure a high level of protection against risks to or via the aquatic environment stemming from these 33 priority substances and certain other pollutants by setting environmental quality standards (EQS). The necessary emission controls have been adopted in various Community acts over the past years.

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