The EU aims to achieve zero pollution in European seas by 2030.
The EU aims to achieve zero pollution in European seas by 2030. Shutterstock/Rich Carey

Headline: Source to Seas - Zero Pollution 2030


Marine contamination and pollution occur because of human activities both on land and at sea. Urgent attention is needed to ensure healthy and clean European seas - which are critical for the ecosystem services (e.g. food, oxygen production, climate regulation) they provide and our well-being. The complex and interconnected nature of marine pollution requires governance approaches which integrate sustainability objectives and circular economy principles within and across sectoral polices to create effective mitigation actions that reduce pollutant emissions and their impacts.

SOS-ZEROPOL2030 - transdisciplinary research to develop an EU zero pollution strategy

Policy measures to reduce marine pollution will potentially have both positive and negative outcomes for economic sectors (e.g. agriculture, fisheries, the food and beverage industry, waste management, the packaging industry, tourism, offshore energy) at multiple governance scales (local, national, regional, and international). This means that marine pollution is a considerable multi-layered governance and socio-economic challenge that requires innovative ideas to address shortcomings in existing policy measures as well as new governance approaches that foster the active collaboration of multiple stakeholders across governance levels and sectors. Collaborative efforts must identify the existing challenges as well as identify possibilities that integrate short- and long-term measures and interventions.

SOS-ZEROPOL2030 (Sources to Seas - Zero Pollution 2030) aims to develop a holistic zero pollution strategy that will guide the EU towards achieving zero pollution in European seas by 2030. The project will characterise existing barriers to successful pollution reduction policies and identify best practices for effective measures, engage with key stakeholders to co-identify policy opportunities, as well as co-develop a practical roadmap to guide the transition to clean European seas. The project is coordinated by the University College Cork (UCC) with nine partners across Europe, including RIFS in Potsdam, Germany.

Ocean governance and zero pollution ambition

RIFS will lead the development of a Strategic Zero Pollution Framework to outline a governance process to prevent and reduce the pollution of seas and achieve the goal of zero pollution. This project is part of the RIFS EU ocean governance cluster along with OceanNETs, CrossGov, MarineSABRES and PermaGov.

Funding information

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 101060213.