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S&Ds: Persistent Organic Pollutants? No, thank you! EU Parliament approves further limitations


06 Oct 2022


Climate & Environment

The S&D Group welcomes the approval of the new Regulation to limit and gradually phase out Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in waste. This final vote concludes the legislative procedure after tough and technical negotiations with the Council and the Commission. The Socialists and Democrats managed to shape a wide majority in the house to secure more ambitious concentration limits than initially put forward in the Commission’s proposal.

Although POPs are generally no longer used in new products, they can still be found in waste and hence pose a threat to the environment and to human health. In order to protect the circular lifespan of products, waste containing too high levels of POPs must be destroyed or incinerated and cannot be recycled.

S&D rapporteur and member of the environment committee, Maria Arena, stated:

“Persistent Organic Pollutants are among the most harmful substances made by and known to man. They are carcinogenic, toxic for reproduction, endocrine disruptors, and they survive for a very long time in the environment. This is why we need to limit, lower and finally eliminate them, not only for the protection of our health but also for the health of future generations.

“The agreement reached with the Council to set stronger limits of POPs in waste and the commitment to lower them further in the future through reviews is a step forward, although we would have preferred moving towards a non-toxic circular economy faster. Highly toxic substances must not be allowed to find their way back into our consumer products through waste streams and recycling.

“Stronger POPs limits agreed with the Council will not only be beneficial for health and the environment, but also for a non-toxic circular economy as this will incentivise the industry to faster eliminate contaminated waste.”

S&D spokesperson in the environment committee, Tiemo Wölken, said:

‘’The hard fought agreement on Persistent Organic Pollutants was a crucial step towards the achievement of our circular economy goals. POPs are not only extremely harmful for the environment, but also pose a huge threat to human health. By raising the ambition of the Commission’s proposal, the Parliament, spearheaded by the S&D Group, sends the message that recycling materials must be toxic free in order to ensure a credible and safe circular economy and deliver on our promises to citizens.’’




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