What are the most aggressive chemical products for the environment? What areas of the planet have more pollutants? Can we detect toxic products which are hard to identify? How can we protect biodiversity and natural ecosystems better? Degradation of the environment and natural resources, the loss of biodiversity, impacts on health and the crises on food safety are some of the effects of chemical products being thrown into the environment due human activity.

Now, an international study with the participation of the expert Miguel Cañedo-Argüelles, member of the Faculty of Biology and the Catalan Water Research Institute of the University of Barcelona (IdRA), and the University of Vic – Universitat Central de Catalunya (UVic-UCC) as well, determines the twenty-two main questions to consider in order to manage sustainably the environmental risks that are related to the chemical products in Europe.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, wants to shape a new guideline -with a more global and coordinated perspective- for several social and economic sectors in the field of chemical products and management of environmental risks in Europe.

The new study is part of the initiatives by Global Horizon Scanning Project (GHSP), Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), to identify the main factors that alter the environmental quality in several geographical areas (Europe, Africa, North-America, South-America and Asia-Pacific. In particular, the study results from a 2015 initiative during the SETAC conference in Barcelona, in which the main heads of some consultancy groups of the entity debated on key aspects of chemistry and environment that were mentioned to more than 2000 members of SETAC.

Is a more sustainable environmental future possible?

Ending with poverty and inequalities, promoting education and dignified work, and protecting the environment around the planet are some of the objectives for the UN Agenda 2030 for the Sustainable Development. With a changing view, the Agenda 2030 represents a model guideline on economic, social and environmental sustainability for all member states that joined in September 2015.

The new scientific study wants to assess the interaction between several factors that affect natural ecosystems (chemical products, hydrological alterations, environmental degradation, etc). According to Miquel Cañedo-Argüelles, member of the research group Freshwater Ecology, Hydrology and Management (FEHM) of the UB and the BETA-TECNIO Technological Center of UVic-UCC, “ecosystems are exposed to many stress factors and scientists analyze those separately due technical restrictions”.

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