This briefing from the European Environmental Bureau explores the significant challenge mercury pollution poses to Europe’s waters.
The atmospheric deposition of mercury is the main reason for EU water bodies failing to achieve good chemical status. Coal combustion is the largest source of mercury to the environment. While it is legally required and technically feasible to reduce emissions, authorities have failed to implement strict emission limits, instead having delayed action, opted for the lowest commitments and even granted derogations.
The briefing identifies the environmental and health situation at hand, and makes recommendations for the European Commission and EU Member States to tackle this vital issue. Without more ambition and closer cooperation between regulatory bodies, EU countries are set to fail the ambition of the Water Framework Directive, letting people and the environment bear the cost.