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Belgium has world’s fifth largest ecological footprint

10:59 30/09/2014

Belgium is one of the largest consumers in the world, using up natural resources at an alarming and unsustainable rate. That’s according to the 10th two-yearly Living Planet Report from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), in which Belgium rose one place to the fifth largest ecological footprint in the world.

Worldwide, humans exert a pressure on the planet that is 50% more than what nature can reproduce annually. In order to produce what we consume in a year, we would need 1.5 planet Earths.

The average ecological footprint per Belgian is 7.45 hectares (compared to a global average of 1.8 hectares, and 4.3 hectares in Europe). Energy use is responsible for about half of the Belgian footprint, with household power consumption and the transport sector making the main difference with neighbouring countries.

"We have many relatively old and poorly insulated buildings where a lot of energy escapes," said Damien Vincent, CEO of WWF-Belgium. "Not only that, but the low occupancy of Belgian cars, the dense road network and tax breaks for company cars all contribute to a higher number of vehicle kilometres per person."

With its fifth place, Belgium now ranks among the five countries with the largest ecological footprints per capita in the world, behind Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Denmark.

Written by Robyn Boyle