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Jan 10 2003, The Daily Record

We use up too much

John Mceachran

WASTEFUL city dwellers consume nearly all of Scotland's natural resources, environment watchdogs claim.

A report by Worldwide Fund for Nature Scotland says the country's four biggest cities need a landmass of 7.7million hectares to support their consumption.

The total landmass of Scotland is only 7.8million hectares.

WWF head of policy Dr Richard Dixon said: "If we turned over all of Scotland to producing energy, crops, food and raw materials, and absorbing wastes for just the four cities, we could just be sustainable."

Aberdonians are the top consumers but Scotland's other cities are not far behind.

Dr Dixon said: "Our greedy habits are too much for the world's natural resources to bear.

"We consume too much imported food when we could be eating local produce, throw away far more than we recycle and choose to drive rather than walk, cycle or take public transport."

He added: "If all the people in the world consumed like Scotland's big urban populations, we would need between two and three planets to support ourselves."

Because of varying population densities, Glasgow needs an area of land 177 times its current size to support itself, Dundee 134 times, Edinburgh 95 and Aberdeen 67. Inverness was not included because of a lack of data.

Aberdonians need 5.87 hectares per person, rivalling Londoners, who need 6.63 hectares each.

On a global scale, if all the biologically productive land and sea on the planet was divided by the number of the people, the result would be 2.2 hectares of land per person.

The report looked at levels of waste, imports and exports and energy
consumption of the Scottish cities. Dr Dixon added: "Despite growing evidence of climate change and pollution of our air and rivers, Scotland is still burning up a disproportionate share of the world's finite resources.

"The Executive now needs to take these figures seriously and come up with a strategy to reduce our global impact.

"Politicians and local authorities should carry out an urgent, detailed review of our consumption patterns and set clear targets."


This article was kindly provided by ScoWaste a mailing list run by SRMS for
RAGS and FoE Scotland.


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