A Peek Into Several European Countries
By: Tuva Aasen
Belgium is a highly industrialized country holding large amounts of industrial facilities, which is a serious source of pollution. This has led to environmental issues such as air, water and land pollution. Belgium’s water supply is believed to contain hazardous amounts of metals, phosphorous and mercury. Air in Belgium can be considered dangerous as well due to a high concentration of hydrocarbons and lead. Due to a lot of industrial sources, Belgium is among the 50 nations emitting the highest levels of carbon dioxide. (Reaching as high as an emission level of 106 million metric tons in 1996). Their air pollution is not only considered a problem for Belgium, but is also threatening to countries surrounding them, which are affected by experiencing acid rain. Acid rain is caused by industrial emissions and greenhouse gases, which Belgium is a significant producer of.
In 1970 all of Europe struggled with the pollution of rivers and canals, which led to the implementation of strict laws protecting the water. Since then, the country’s air quality has improved and amounts of industrial emissions decreased. Belgium is one of the 193 members of UN, so in the beginning of 1970s, United Nations (UN) and the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) implemented Sulphur protocol; a try to reduce sulphur emissions by at least 30% by 1993. In addition to this, there are agencies and organs in Belgium targeting these issues and trying to find ways to eliminate or reduce them. The principal environmental agency in Belgium is The Ministry of Public Health and Environment, in addition to this, a Secretary of State for Public Health and Environment is working toward solving environmental issues as well. The government in Belgium has played a major role in creating and implementing a range of environmental policies. Examples of this would be the Waste Plan, the 1990-95 Plan on Mature Development and an Environmental Policy Plan.
It is important addressing issues such as air pollution as it can cause critical health effects; shorten life expectancy and lead to premature mortality.