Germany rapped by EC over excess nitrate pollution
The European Commission is referring Germany to the European Court of Justice for failing to take stronger measures to combat pollution caused by nitrates...
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission (EC) is referring Germany to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to take stronger measures to combat water pollution caused by nitrates.
The decision follows latest figures submitted by Germany and recent reports from authorities in the country showing worsening nitrate pollution in groundwater and surface waters, including the Baltic Sea.
According to the European Commission, although German authorities were warned back in 2014, they have not “taken sufficient additional measures to effectively address nitrates pollution and revise its relevant legislation to comply with the EU rules on nitrates”.
Widely spread as fertilisers, nitrates are used to increase plant growth but excess levels can lead to sever water pollution and promote algae growth, also known as eutrophication.
The Nitrates Directive launched in 1991 aims to protect water quality across Europe by preventing nitrates from agricultural sources, polluting ground and surface waters, and by promoting the use of good farming practices.
As part of the directive, member states are required to monitor waters and identify those affected by pollution, as well as setting up appropriate action programmes.