Greenpeace Belgium sent a formal notice to Flemish Environment Minister Zuhal Demir on Thursday because water quality in agricultural areas is deteriorating year after year, the environmental protection organisation said in a statement.
“Our European objectives are at risk. Politicians need to tackle the roots of the problem, such as our far too large livestock population,” Greenpeace said.
Water quality “is deteriorating and we are suffocating in nitrogen,” Greenpeace said. “This was recently confirmed by the Council for Permit Disputes (RvVb) in its so-called nitrogen ruling.”
“Structural reforms – such as reducing our livestock numbers – have become inevitable to protect our nature,” said Matteo De Vos, agriculture expert for Greenpeace Belgium.
“With this formal notice, we want to encourage the Flemish government to intervene much more radically, as part of the manure action plan,” De Vos added.
The Flemish agricultural model is not only outdated in the light of the climate and biodiversity crises, but it is also leading to a social crisis, Greenpeace explains.
“Small farmers are locked into a growth model that pushes them further and further into debt,” according to De Vos. “Higher manure management fees are putting a noose around their necks and encouraging them to cheat.”
“The necessary transition to agro-ecology must always go hand in hand with financial support and compensation for these people, at Flemish, Walloon and certainly also at European level,” he concluded.
The Brussels Times