The beaches are getting cleaner, but
Voters must dump their apathy to force Scotland to clean up its shameful green record, say campaigners. Words: Ruth Hedges
cottish voters need to get off their arses and vote in the European elections if they want to make as much of a difference to Scotland's enVIronment as they say they do.
According to research by new environmental coalition. Everyone. although 90% of voters say protection of the environment is an important political issue for them. only 22%; of them say they plan to vote. ‘Europe is the driver for most of our environmental legislation,' says Fred Edwards. head of Everyone. 'It is crucially important for anyone concerned with the environment.‘
European elections take place on 10 June this year and they are a real chance to lift Scotland out of its shameful record on recycling. climate emissions and toxics isee box below. "We're desperate that people in Scotland become part of the political process.‘ says Edwards.
Energising an electorate whose image of Europe is of anonymous grey suits l agislating from desks in Brussels is a t0ugh job. And as it seems the clean tactics aren't working. campaigning groups are now turning dirty. Naming and shaming is the latest ploy. and this month‘s target is Scottish Conservative MEP. John Purvis. He is. they reveal. bottom of a ‘dirty do/en' list of voters on environmental issues in the European Parliament. regularly voting against measures to increase environmental protection. To help you check your European representatives against their election pledges and green responsibilities. a new website (wwweu-votewatch.orgi has been set up to allow you to track their voting patterns.
British MEPs had the worst green voting record in Europe. although Scotland's eight MEPs generally had a better showmg than their southern counterparts. Unsurprisingly. it is those shining Nords across the waters leading the way. with Danes and Swedes coming top.
On a cleaner note. the tide is eventually turning for Scotland's beaches. with 14 new ones now deemed worthy of the prestigious Seaside Awards. including Saltcoats South and Seton Sands. So we can go for a swnn at a few more places. but we shouldn't eat most fish and we‘re still burning a huge fat hole in the ozone layer. The numbers below speak for themselves. It could be a good time to make our Views known at the ballot box this June I ViS/t www.everyonecanorg to find out more.
4 THE LIST 15» ~29 Apr 2004
THE RECYCLED V THE ROTTEN
I Recycling and waste
Scotland rots at the bottom of Europe's recycling league table, processing only 9.6% of household waste this way. according to Friends of the Earth Scotland. By comparison:
Austria 64%: Belgium 52%: Germany 48%; Netherlands 47%; Denmark 39%: Finland 33%: Sweden 33%; Spain 27%; Italy 16%; France 14%; England & Wales 11%
I Climate emissions
Despite making good progress on renewables. Scotland is falling behind the rest of the UK when it comes to cutting its climate emissions. Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by only 4.9% since 1990 — less than half the 128% average achieved by the UK as a whole. For carbon dioxide (CO2). the main climate change gas. Scotland managed only a 2.6% reduction compared with the UK average of 7.5%. England‘s CO2 emissions fell by 10.1% over the same period. This isn't saying much as the UK is second only to Germany in being the highest emitter of greenhouse gases in Europe.
I Beach water quality
Although it's generally been good news on the beach front. Scotland still has a number of beaches that fail to meet the minimum European safety standards. even thOugh these were set back in the 1970s
I Marine ﬁsheries Sixteen out of Scotland's 21 commercial fish stocks were outside safe biological limits in 2003.
A new report from the World Wildlife Fund Scotland reveals that brown trout in Lochnagar. on the Royal Balmoral Estate. contain concentrations of flame retardant chemicals (PBDEs) almost ten times higher than those of other Northern European mountain lakes.
V 1 N 2:;
‘irty man of Europe
The £40m brand AKA David Beckham has been all over the front pages again. Poor old Becks sends a few secret SMS messages, and then whaddya know, suddenly they’re published all over the world. It could be a heinous invasion of privacy, or mabe it’s a sophisticated global campaign to promote -
Number of years since first SMS message sent 12
Percentage of UK population now owning a mobile phone 78
Percentage of 16—24-year- olds using text messaging regularly in 2004 95
Average number of SMS messages sent by 16-24- year-olds each month 100
Total number of SMS messages sent in the UK in 2003 20.3bn
Percentage of mobile phone bills spent on text messaging 1 6
Number of Christmas text messages sent during December 2002 1 .6bn
Number of governments brought down by text message rumour campaigns 2
Number of Valentine's text messages sent. 2003 78m
Number of traditional Valentine's cards sent by snail mail in 2003 13m
Number of mayoral elections in Eritain in which people have been able to vote by SMS message 2
Percentage increase in SMS messaging on 14 August 2003, A Level results day 22
Estimated annual value of David Beckham's sponsorship witn mobile phone company Vodafone £1 m