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Welfare measured in Flanders

A growing number of authorities are considering the use of alternative welfare indicators for monitoring their policies. The Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) was developed in response to the criticism against the use of gross domestic product (GDP) as welfare indicator. An updated MIRA report reports on the evolution of the ISEW for Flanders and outlines the potential and the effective use of the index for policy-making in various countries and regions, including Flanders.

Health indicators for exposure to increased ozone concentrations

VITO recently conducted a study on behalf of MIRA on the health impact of ozone. The study yielded two indicators for monitoring the health impact of ozone in Flanders. Firstly, the existing MIRA indicator was updated. This indicator describes lung function reduction at increased ozone concentrations and is relevant for the 5-to-55 age group. Secondly, a new indicator was developed that applies to older persons (>65 years). The indicator describes the number of extra hospitalisations due to increased ozone exposure.

New research reports on ecological footprint

On behalf of MIRA, Ecolife has conducted two studies on the ecological footprint. A first study examined why the ecological footprint of Belgium is higher than that of our neighbouring countries. A second study calculated the ecological footprint of Flanders over the period 2004-2009.

Ozone damage to vegetation

This report describes a study into ozone damage to vegetation commissioned by MIRA and carried out by VITO in collaboration with CODA-CERVA. The study consists of two parts: a literature study and a study into the feasibility of an ozone flux-based area-wide indicator. The study reveals that the building blocks needed to develop a Flemish ozone dose model are available. These building blocks are the DOɜSE model (used to calculate deposition and exchange of ozone), the Chimere model (for air quality calculations) and the RIO model (interpolation model used to calculate area-wide ozone concentrations). The input parameters for these models are available or can be derived.

Modifications of the ‘Pressure on aquatic life from crop protection agents’ indicator

The ‘pressure on aquatic life from crop protection agents’ indicator has been for many years one of the set of environmental indicators that are regularly monitored by MIRA. The indicator weights the quantity of the active substance in each crop protection agent sold each year in terms of its toxicity for aquatic organisms and persistence in the environment, and is expressed as the sum of the dispersion equivalents (Seq). It is therefore a measure of the risks for aquatic life associated with the use of crop protection agents.

Nitrogen and phosphorus in the Flemish economy

Flanders has a surplus of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients available in waste and residual flows such as household waste water, organic biological waste and manure. This is due, among other things, to the high population density and the intensive agriculture and industry. This surplus constitutes a bottleneck, but at the same time opens up a large potential for reuse and recycling. This emerges from a new MIRA study report compiled by the University of Ghent.

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