Communicating science


Consultation reply: Pharmaceuticals in the Environment

Text: Hanna Sjölund

The Baltic Sea Centre last week answered the European Commission's consultation on pharmaceuticals in the environment. It presents 30 policy options, covering all stages of pharmaceutical substances’ lifecycle, for which they ask for input.

In our reply we welcome the effort to limit emissions of pharmaceuticals to the environment and have especially focused on the end-of-pipe options.

Even if the consultation is focused on pharmaceuticals specifically and not on chemical substances present in wastewater in general, we argue that policy options related to advanced wastewater treatment should take all micropollutants into consideration and be viewed in a broader cost-efficiency perspective in line with the precautionary principle. This as it also relates to other societal services such as protecting drinking water and protecting agricultural land when reusing wastewater for irrigation.

We would also like to see an extension of the risk assessment and monitoring of environmental pollutants being included in future programmes of measures for the WFD. Assisting Member States in achieving full policy coherence and implementation of the Water, Marine and Urban Wastewater Directives would help in this regard. 

For more information read our policy brief on advanced wastewater treatment.