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Swiss say their environment progress too slow

Swiss say their environment progress too slow

Switzerland's landscape of jutting Alps, glacier-fed lakes and flowering meadows isn't as pristine as it should be, the government reported Wednesday.
The report found Switzerland's progress on air pollution, water quality, climate change and preservation of plant and animal species is too slow. It said most of the nation's major environmental achievements _ such as reducing emissions of acid rain-forming sulfur dioxide and phosphorus in surface water _ occurred before 2000.
Government-set limits on several major pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, fine particle and ozone pollution are "still exceeded on a regular basis, in some cases markedly," according to joint findings by the Swiss federal agencies for environment and the federal statistics office.
But the report says most air pollution limits are being met and the water quality in lakes and rivers is generally good, with levels of heavy metals, dioxins and PCBs declining overall and some contaminated sites being steadily cleaned up.
"However, all of these success stories should not distract us from the fact that the situation in Switzerland is far from perfect when it comes to the environment," the report said. Much of the progress, it said, "was achieved before the turn of the millennium and the situation has not changed considerably since then."
The government said micro-pollutants, such as residues of pesticides, pharmaceutical drugs and cleaning agents are being detected in some Swiss lakes and waterways. Urban sprawl is behind the continuing loss of animal and plant species and their increasingly fragmented natural habitats.
It also said the Swiss targets for reducing carbon emissions are off-track. Switzerland had committed under the U.N.'s climate treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol to reducing carbon dioxide and other climate-warming emissions by at least 8 percent on average between 2008 and 2012, compared with 1990 levels.
Carbon emissions from fossil fuel-burning were mostly to blame, the report said, due to a 68 percent increase in the use of natural gas and 16 percent increase in the use of motor fuels between 1990 and 2009. But the use of heating fuels fell 23 percent during the same period.


Updated : 2021-10-17 21:30 GMT+08:00