Belgium is heavily industrialized and experiences many of the environmental problems common to other industrialized nations. The country is a significant producer of greenhouse gases and industrial emissions that cause acid rain. Belgium’s air quality has improved, however, and industrial emissions have steadily decreased since the United Nations (UN) Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) Sulphur Protocols were implemented, beginning in the 1970s.
European Union (EU) directives aimed at improving Belgium’s environmental conditions concern water treatment and water quality, both significant issues in such an industrial center. Before these directives were issued, the Meuse River, a major source of drinking water, had become polluted from steel production wastes. Other rivers were polluted with animal wastes and fertilizers. However, Belgium failed to meet EU targets set for the early 2000s for protecting its rivers from farm pollution and for preventing water pollution in its ports. Some areas of Belgium’s coastal lands were reclaimed and developed from the 13th to the 15th century. With only concrete dikes separating them from the sea, these lands are especially threatened by flooding.
The EU predicted that flooding was likely to worsen as a result of global warming.
Only 2.6 percent (1997) of Belgium’s land is protected in parks and other reserves. This is a small amount when compared with neighboring countries such as France (11.7 percent), Netherlands (6.7 percent), and Germany (27 percent). Belgium is party to international agreements concerning air and water pollution, biodiversity, ozone layer protection and climate control, endangered species, hazardous wastes, and wetlands. "Belgium" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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