Facts and figures
Europe’s waters are much cleaner than they were 25 years ago, due to investment in sewage systems to reduce pollution from urban wastewater treatment.
In early 2015 the European Environment Agency estimated that the objective of reaching good ecological status by 2015 was only likely to be met by 53 per cent of surface water bodies.
The Baltic Sea—as a semi-enclosed regional sea with low salinity—is considered the largest human-induced hypoxic area in the world.
European seas are affected by climate change through ocean acidification and increasing water temperatures.
(EEA: The European environment—state and outlook 2015)
Pollution in the marine environment has decreased in some places but levels of nutrients and certain hazardous substances are overall still above acceptable limits.
In the North Sea, over 90 per cent of Fulmar sea birds have plastic in their stomach and on average 712 items of litter are found on 100m stretch of beach on the Atlantic Coast.
(COM(2014) 97 final)