Table of Contents

Measuring Environmental Degradation

Measuring Environmental Degradation

Developing Pressure Indicators for Europe

Edited by Anil Markandya and Nick Dale

Measuring Environmental Degradation is a unique book that provides a comprehensive yet concise overview of the key issues of environmental significance addressed as part of the Eurostat ‘Environmental Pressure Indicators Project’. The book is part of the ‘Towards Environmental Pressure Indicators for the EU’ (TEPI) series that has resulted from the project.

Chapter 28: Introduction

B. Friis

Subjects: environment, environmental sociology


B. Friis 1. POLICY RELEVANCE AND INTERNATIONAL FRAMEWORK Waste represents a loss of resources, and the spread of emissions from treatment and disposal of waste to air, soil and water over a period. In addition, there is a risk of unintended emission of undesirable substances. Waste is an environmental problem of growing concern. The principal question is ‘how can we improve our welfare without continuously increasing the amounts of waste and the related environmental problems?’. Several policies have addressed this question, for example, the UN and the EU have adopted a well-known priority ranking for dealing with waste (waste minimization, recycling, treatment with energy recovery, sanitary landfilling).1 The Basel Convention on hazardous waste has been adopted by many countries, including the EU,2 and more recently, Agenda 213 has highlighted waste as one of the topics to address. At EU level, the Fifth Environmental Action Programme4 has formulated a strategy to stabilize waste production at the 1985 level by the year 2000. 2. RESULTS OF SECOND-ROUND QUESTIONNAIRE A second questionnaire submitted to waste experts asked them to rank the 30 indicators condensed from the first questionnaire5 on the basis of three quality criteria defined as ‘policy relevance’, ‘analytical soundness’ and ‘responsiveness’. Figure 28.1 shows the overall rankings for these three questions. The core ranking of the indicators is also presented, expressed as a percentage of experts who included the indicator in their top-five list of essential indicators. It should be noted that there is some...