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Cluster 6: Clean environment and zero pollution (HORIZON-CL6-2021-ZEROPOLLUTION-01), 10 calls open
Anthropogenic pollution undermines the integrity of Earth ecosystems and severely affects natural resources essential for human life. Keeping our planet clean and our ecosystems healthy will not only contribute to addressing the climate crisis but also help regenerate biodiversity, ensure the sustainability of primary production activities and safeguard the well-being of humankind. In line with the objectives of the European Green Deal, particularly its zero pollution ambition, and the 2030 Climate Target Plan, and other relevant EU legislation[[cf. European Green Deal deliverables farm to fork strategy, biodiversity strategy, soil strategy, but also bioeconomy strategy, marine strategy, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development etc., the Missions on Soil Health and Food as well as on Ocean, seas and waters, etc.]], this destination seeks to halt and prevent pollution by focussing the work programme 2021-2022 on fresh and marine waters, soils, air, including from nitrogen and phosphorus emissions, as well as on the environmental performance and sustainability of processes in the bio-based systems. Synergies with other clusters (notably 1 and 5), relevant destinations as well as missions and partnerships will be exploited.
Halting emissions of pollutants to soils and waters is of fundamental significance for the planet. Diffuse emissions of pollutants from land and urban sources, including atmospheric depositions, are a major stress factor for terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, threatening the quality of surface waters and aquifers, and affecting soil quality and all water-dependent sectors that require a holistic understanding of the pollution sources, key vectors and pathways. Projected impacts of climate change will alter, and notably reduce, the hydrological flows in many parts of Europe, while eutrophication could be exacerbated by increasing temperatures. Climate change and increasing water demand will exert significant pressures on surface and groundwater quality[[Member States identified that diffuse pollution is still a significant pressure that affects 35 % of the area of groundwater bodies, while quality standards (pesticides, herbicides…) were exceeded in 15 % of the groundwater bodies]], notably where the combined effect of water table depletion and sea level rise will endanger the integrity of coastal aquifers and groundwater quality. This is due to saline water intrusion or extreme events (e.g. higher tides, storm surges or inland flooding events), which will put coastal wetlands and reservoirs, estuaries and ecosystems at risk. While recognising its essential role in aquatic ecosystems functioning and services, the sediments originating mostly from run-off and erosion are likely the major source of physical pollution of water bodies (excessive turbidity, impacts of deposition, accumulation of litter and debris) and contribute to a large extent to chemical and biological pollution of receiving waters. Beside land use practises, the increasing intensity and variability of precipitation will exacerbate erosion risks, affect the deposition and transport of sediments and could lead to a remobilisation of legacy contaminants and further deteriorate the quality of soils, sediments and water bodies, including aquifers, estuaries and coastal areas, and of their ecosystem function and services.

Under this destination the EU has published 10 topics which are open for submission.
Halting emissions of pollutants to soils and waters
1. Regional nitrogen and phosphorus load reduction approach within safe ecological boundaries (HORIZON-CL6-2021-ZEROPOLLUTION-01-01)
2. Optimisation of nutrient budget in agriculture (HORIZON-CL6-2021-ZEROPOLLUTION-01-02)
Protecting drinking water and managing urban water pollution
3. Preventing and managing diffuse pollution in urban water runoff (HORIZON-CL6-2021-ZEROPOLLUTION-01-03)
Addressing pollution on seas and ocean
4. Achieving zero polluted seas and ocean (HORIZON-CL6-2021-ZEROPOLLUTION-01-04)
Increasing environmental performances and sustainability of processes and products
5. Environmental sustainability criteria for biological resources production and trade in bio-based systems: impacts and trade-offs (HORIZON-CL6-2021-ZEROPOLLUTION-01-05)
6. Increasing the environmental performance of industrial processes in bio-based sectors: construction, woodworking, textiles, pulp and paper and bio-chemicals (HORIZON-CL6-2021-ZEROPOLLUTION-01-06)
7. International and EU sustainability certification schemes for bio-based systems (HORIZON-CL6-2021-ZEROPOLLUTION-01-07)
8. New genomic techniques (NGT): understanding benefits and risks - focus on bio-based innovation (HORIZON-CL6-2021-ZEROPOLLUTION-01-08)
9. Environmental impacts and trade-offs of alternative fertilising products at global/local scale (HORIZON-CL6-2021-ZEROPOLLUTION-01-09)
10. Environmental services: improved bioremediation and revitalization strategies for soil, sediments and water (HORIZON-CL6-2021-ZEROPOLLUTION-01-10)

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