Surface waters and the marine environment are considered the final sink for most, if not all, pollutants. Chemical pollution in combination with changing climate conditions puts stress on aquatic ecosystems. Most surface waters in Flanders do not attain environmental quality standards nor do they show good ecological status as required by the European Water Frame Directive. Moreover polluted waters threaten human health as we use water systems for leisure activities and as a source of drinking water. Moreover fish and other aquatic organisms are an integral part of the human food chain and are being contaminated by exposure to water and sediment born pollutants. An extensive part of our research capacity focusses on understanding the combined effects of pollution and climate change on aquatic life and consequently assessing the risk to the environment and human health.