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A large group of stakeholders unite their voice to support the EPR scheme in the proposed revision of the UWWTD

Aqua Publica Europea joins a large group of stakeholders representing drinking and wastewater service providers, local public utilities, local and regional governments, environmental civil society organisations, social partners and water-related innovation industries to support the financing mechanism proposed by the European Commission to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of the costs involved in removing micro-pollutants from wastewater in the proposed revision of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD).

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On 26 October 2022, the European Commission adopted a proposal to update rules on collecting and treating urban wastewater in order to better protect the health of Europeans and the environment. This proposal plays a crucial role in the Union’s objective to achieve a pollution-free environment by 2050, notably in addressing for the first time micro-pollutants that are frequently found in water bodies across Europe and have negative impacts on the environment and human health.

In its proposal, the Commission makes selected sectors contribute to the costs of upgrading wastewater treatment plants to treat harmful pollutants that are released from the use of their products based on the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) principle. The scheme focuses on the pharmaceuticals and the cosmetics sectors, which are jointly responsible for 92% of the toxic load in wastewater.

In a joint statement, APE and eleven other organisations strongly welcome this proposal to make producers contribute to the cost of removing substances harmful for the environment from wastewater and stress the crucial need to maintain the EPR scheme in the final text negotiated between the European Parliament and the Council. "The EPR scheme is an environmentally effective, economically efficient, and socially fair financing instrument to address the treatment of micro-pollutants in wastewater and avoid their discharge into receiving water bodies for the benefit of our health and the one of our ecosystems," the joint statement says.

The undersigned organisations call on all policymakers at European and national level to safeguard this approach in the Commission’s proposal to ensure a fair transition towards a more sustainable, toxic-free Europe.

>> Download the joint statement