Reducing water pollution

Avoiding water pollution

Preventing hazardous pollutants from getting into bodies of water.


In developing countries, controlling pollution caused by polluted municipal water and industrial waste water will pose a major challenge, in part because of the general lack or inefficient functioning of sewerage systems. Ground-water pollution is also becoming more serious, and poses serious risks to human health. These problems will have to be tackled, however, in order to prevent an already bad situation from getting worse.


Paragraph 16 of the 1998 UN/ECE Arhus Declaration recognises a continuing problem with pollution of surface, subterranean, coastal and marine waters in Europe. It recommends improved action therefore needs to be taken towards the progressive reduction of pollutants (incl. heavy metals and anthropogenic chemicals) and by reducing inputs from nutrient sources.

The European Commission Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (Council Directive 91/271/EEC concerning urban waste water treatment) addresses water pollution by requiring that cities, towns and other population centres meet minimum waste water collection and treatment standards by deadlines stipulated in the Directive (these deadlines expire at the end of 1998, 2000 and 2005 depending on the sensitivity of the receiving water and size of the population centre). Untreated or inadequately treated urban waste water is one of the chief forms of water pollution.

Constrained by:
Contaminating water
Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy