Ireland has world’s 10th largest ecological footprint

IRELAND has the 10th largest ecological footprint in the world, with one of the worst records of excessive human consumption of natural resources, according to a major international report.

The Living Planet report looks at the changing state of ecosystems, consumption of natural resources and the implications for the future of the world.

Overall, the report concludes natural resources are being consumed faster than the Earth is replenishing them. People are now living lifestyles which would require one and a half planets to sustain, though there are significant differences between rich and poor nations.

The report, carried out by the World Wildlife Fund, examines the number of ‘global hectares’ — the amount of biologically productive land and water available per person on the planet — that countries need.

Irish people on average use just over six global hectares per person, more than double the demand of some EU countries, such as Hungary and Romania. The worst offender is the United Arab Emirates.

Friends of the Irish Environment director Tony Lowes said: “What is disappointing is that the Department of the Environment has spent more than €10 million in a campaign to encourage the nation to change its habits over the last three years.”

The campaign was overshadowed by the Government’s “unsustainable national policies, especially in transport and spatial planning”, Mr Lowes said.

The Environmental Protection Agency failed to comment on the report when contacted yesterday.

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