Chewing up the resources

Published: Thursday 30 November 2000

the United Arab Emirates ( uae ) is the world's biggest consumer of natural resources, states a report of the World Wide Fund for Nature ( wwf ). Singapore and usa are the second and the third largest consumers, states the report entitled Living Planet Report 2000 . According to the report, Eritrea , Afghanistan and Bangladesh are the most sustainable nations. The uk has been ranked 20th in the list.

Between 1970 and 1999, natural sources of freshwater and the marine ecosystem have declined by 50 per cent and 35 per cent respectively. At least 12 per cent of the world's forests have also been destroyed. During the same period, humanity's pressure on the ecosystem has increased by 50 per cent and the Earth's regeneration rate has not been able to match this. The most severe deterioration of natural resources has taken place in the tropical and southern temperate regions.

A measure of human pressure on global ecosystems known as 'Ecological Footprint' was used to prepare the report. Six more planets would be needed if the world's entire population used natural resources at the same rate as the citizens of uae, the report states . " The uae may have the highest ecological footprint rate, but usa , with its huge population has a vastly greater impact on the world," a wwf spokesperson said. The report was based on the analyses of average per capita consumption of natural products of 151 countries. The natural products which were taken into account included grain, wood, seafood; and the emissions of carbon dioxide.

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