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SOER 2010: the state of environment in Lithuania ahead of European average

2011-02-10

The European Environmental Agency (EEA) and the Ministry of Environment have presented SOER 2010, a periodic state of European environment report published every five years, to the Lithuanian public. In a number of the surveyed areas, including air quality, climate change, freshwater, environmental protection, biodiversity and waste, Lithuania's indicators exceed European average.

The new EEA assessment shows that global demand for natural resources in order to meet the food, clothing, housing and transport needs is growing rapidly. This results in increased depletion of the European and global ecosystems and economy and in reduced social cohesion. SOER 2010 confirms, however, that a well-designed environmental policy allows improving Europe's environment and has no negative effect on the potential for growth even in the difficult situation.

"We consume more natural resources than we should in order to maintain ecological stability. It is the case not only in Europe but on our whole planet. Climate change is one of the most obvious signs of instability. However, based on various global trends we can conclude that ecosystems will face greater systemic risks in the future. The nature of the current financial crisis should force us to stop and think", claims EEA Deputy Director Gordon McInnes.

"In times of economic difficulty in Lithuania we often hear calls for solving economic growth problems by sacrificing environmental protection. However, the conclusions made on the European scale confirm in particular that sustainable development is only possible through a systemic solution of issues of the whole of society. An excellent example of this is the proposal to incinerate all domestic waste that would allegedly help to avoid the need for developing a modern waste sorting and recycling system. However, few of those making such proposals are honest to admit (or to know) the benefit of waste recycling: the use of waste for production saves natural resources and reduces the amount of waste disposed in landfills. Waste with an energy value, sorted as unfit for recycling, is used to produce energy, while biodegradable waste is used to make compost, which reduces the financial burden for the population", says Minister of Environment Gediminas Kazlauskas.

SOER 2010 stresses a better understanding of the links between climate change, biodiversity, use of resources and human health, as well as the way such measures as land use planning, ecological tax reform, pollution prevention, precautions and accounting of resources can contribute to a sustainable approach to their management.

The report in 25 languages with detailed information about all EEA member states (including Lithuania) is available in a special section of the EEA website at www.eea.europa.eu/soer.

For further information, please contact:
Liutauras Stoškus, Chief Adviser to the Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, tel. (8~687) 97311.

Ministry of Environment information, tel.:2191869

10 February 2011

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas