Clean surface water is the basis of safe drinking water, enjoyable recreational activities and a vibrant nature, rich in biodiversity. PREMIER contributes to safe and clean water through improving the environmental risk assessment of pharmaceuticals.
Because water means different things for different people, this year the World Water Day campaign asked people around the world to say how they value water and why water is so important in their lives. This will help us understanding its true value and how we can better protect this vital resource. This is not just about the financial value of water, but about policymakers and experts listening to users of water to understand how they see its value and what actions they want prioritised.
This Listening Exercise is trying to capture a snapshot of more than 6,000 social media conversations on blogs, news and social media in the last 3-4 months. The main conversation topics are highlighted in the figure below.
As shown in the graph, people around the world are concerned about what water mean for the environment and ecosystems. At times, participants spoke of the environment in a similar way to health and life, mentioning how water is necessary for all ecosystems to flourish. The impact of climate change on access to safe water was mentioned, while conservation and restoration of wet lands was brought up as an important measure of adaptation. The connection between the environment and water pollution was also a frequent topic. A reduction in water pollution was closely connected to the preservation of aquatic life and functioning ecosystems.
Medicines and other toxic compounds are found in surface waters, sediments, soils, biota and ground waters across the European landscape and subsequent food chain. Such residues can harm aquatic fauna and contaminate drinking water. In PREMIER, we are working to develop a novel information and assessment system and guidance to pro-actively manage the risks that medicines pose to the environment including water ecosystems.
The knowledge and tools generated in PREMIER will support key stakeholders including initiatives of EU Member states, for example the Dutch chain approach to reduce pharmaceutical residues in water, NGOs, regional water boards, etc. PREMIER is strongly aligned with the EU Strategic Approach to Pharmaceuticals in the Environment and the EU water framework directive, supporting water quality and environmental protection.