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New environmental balance for Flanders, inclusive a new interactive data webtool

Issue 30-05-2013Each year the Unit Environmental Reporting (MIRA) of the Flemish Environment Agency provides an overview of the current state of the environment in Flanders on the basis of indicators. The MIRA Indicator Report 2012 offers reliable and up-to-date environmental information. In this way, we hope to make a useful contribution to the environmental debate in Flanders.

Indicators illustrate the progress in given environmental themes and show where additional efforts are needed. The MIRA Indicator Report 2012 uses around 100 indicators to assess the Flemish environmental objectives. In this way, MIRA aims to provide up-to-date and reliable environmental information to policy makers, environmental experts and interested citizens.

Some of the indicators covered in the report:

  • Eco-efficiency of households
  • Energy consumption by industry
  • Renewable energy: green power, green heat and biofuels
  • Emission of acidifying substances by agriculture
  • CO2 emission from new passenger cars
  • Emission of dioxins into the air
  • Pesticides in surface water
  • Potentially serious nuisance from noise
  • Total emission of greenhouse gases
  • Water use
  • The effects of environmental pollutants on health (DALYs)
  • Sustainable investment in Belgium

Flanders is on the right track for e.g.:

  • Pesticide use: due to various measures such as integrated and biological crop protection, improved products, use restrictions and bans, the use of crop protection agents in Flanders has almost halved in the period 1990-2010. This is also indicated by the significantly lower values measured for a number of toxic pesticides in the watercourses.
  • Household waste: with 70 % of the household waste going to material recovery, Flanders scores very well within Europe: the EU-27 average for 2010 was 40 %. This share has remained rather stable since 2004.

Additional efforts are needed for e.g.:

  • Noise: noise is the most important source of nuisance in Flanders, although the number of people experiencing noise nuisance shows a downward trend compared to 2001. After particulate matter, noise is the most important source of environmental effects on health.
  • Soil sealing: in the period 2007-2009, 175 967 ha or 12.9 % of the soil in Flanders was sealed. Soil sealing reduces water storage in the soil and adversely affects biodiversity. Next to Malta, at 7.4 % Belgium has the highest level of soil sealing in Europe.

New this year is the English version of the webtool ‘Dynamic Core set of environmental data’. This interactive webtool enables users to request various environmental data 'à la carte'. The figures are available as totals for Flanders but also at sector, subsector and activity level. Additional subdivisions for various specifications are possible, data for intermediate years are available, if applicable there is a choice of different units. The results can be downloaded in various formats (excel, jpg, png). With this interactive tool we want to further improve the accessibility and usability of environmental data.

researchers: MIRA, the Environment Reporting Unit

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