Recycling and garbage export: the good business with garbage

For the disposal association, the trade in waste is essential. Environmentalists criticize environmentally harmful “garbage tourism”.

The Monkey Project collects plastic waste from the sea on the coast of Pahang Photo: The Monkey Project / Reuters

BERLIN taz | Germany’s rubbish travels the world. Germany exported 25.2 million tons of waste in 2018, as the Federal Association of the German Waste Management, Water and Raw Materials Management (BDE) explains in a current report. Ten percent of this went to Asian customers. The greater part, 89 percent, stayed in Europe, a quarter of which went to the Netherlands, the country with Europe’s largest deep-sea port in Rotterdam.

With a 41 percent share, metals are the most important export goods, plastics only make up 4 percent. “The plastic littering of the world’s oceans is not based on the international trade in waste,” says Peter Kurth, Executive President of the BDE. For Kurth, imports and exports are “indispensable”, otherwise “no circular economy can take place”.

The export contrasts with 21.5 million tons of imported waste, mainly from the Netherlands, Poland and the Czech Republic. Imports are also necessary, not all countries in Europe have a functioning processing industry. Restricting the trade in waste would “do recycling a disservice”, said Kurth.

Thomas Fischer from Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) sees it differently. If the sale of waste to Germany is cheaper for other EU countries than setting up your own processing facility, that is exactly what prevents the development of a circular economy system. “We don’t need waste tourism,” says Fischer, we just keep “the incineration industry alive”. Fischer sees politics as an obligation and calls for the introduction of recycling quotas. There must be economic incentives for correct ecological action.

Small penalties for violations

With the corona crisis, foreign trade activities collapsed worldwide. In March and May, exports of waste plastic were a third below the level of the previous year. As a result, more waste was burned again. That justified overcapacities which, according to Fischer, should be “reduced” long ago. China has been declaring war on the flood of plastic since 2018 and drastically restricting imports; India followed suit at the beginning of the year. The waste streams are now shifting to other countries in Southeast Asia, Malaysia is now the largest buyer country. “Nobody is helped if the garbage caravan moves on,” criticized Fischer from the DUH.

The control of imported goods is the responsibility of the local authorities. If a country agrees to import, it must also show itself responsible for it, says BDE boss Kurth. He welcomed the fact that Asian countries were returning shipments that were criticized. In 2019, Malaysia returned 260 containers of waste, he quotes an Interpol report.

77 containers had to be returned to the USA, 43 to France and 42 to Great Britain. However, Kurth considers the fine of less than 1,000 euros per container to be far too low. Fischer sees the problem in precisely this responsibility of the target countries. The target countries often did not have the political structures to properly check that the processing was carried out correctly.


Diesel fraud at VW: the scandal has not yet fizzled out

The car manufacturer’s diesel fraud came out five years ago, and there are still no controls to this day. After all, this was how the traffic turnaround was pushed.

Bad air for five years: VW headquarters in Wolfsburg Photo: Jan Hübner / imago

Recently, Oliver Krischer, deputy head of the green parliamentary group, visited the new test laboratory of the Federal Motor Transport Authority. Here the supervisory authority checks whether vehicle types meet all legal requirements. “It looks like a backyard garage,” he reports. “That is no comparison to the well-equipped laboratories in the VW plants.” Even five years after the gigantic diesel fraud became known, there is no equality of arms between supervisory authorities and industry, criticizes Krischer. With dire consequences. “Something like the diesel scandal could repeat itself,” he fears.

Five years ago today, US authorities announced that car maker Volkswagen had manipulated exhaust gas devices in diesel vehicles on a large scale. In this way, tests measured lower pollutant emissions than occurs during normal operation. A short time later, VW admitted that it had equipped eleven million vehicles worldwide with such devices. Customers all over the world felt cheated, their cars lost value dramatically.

Almost all manufacturers have done something similar, but have not admitted it. The scandal is still present. According to Krischer’s estimates, there are still ten million diesel vehicles with illegal defeat devices in Germany. Unlike the US government, the German government did not insist that the manufacturers bring the manipulated vehicles into a proper condition.

And not only that. “Four years after the scandal became known, the federal government continued to allow manufacturers to put models on the road that emit far too high amounts of nitrogen oxides,” says Krischer. Only a new European directive meant that this ended in summer 2019.

The transport ministers slow down and cover up

The federal government has not yet drawn the necessary conclusions from the scandal, he says. “We need effective and consistent monitoring of the auto industry,” he demands. When it comes to information on fuel consumption or noise, the manufacturers continued to follow the diesel pattern: limit values ​​are only adhered to during controls, but not in normal operation, criticizes Krischer.

But instead of changing anything, the government – especially the CSU Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt and his successor Andreas Scheuer – slowed down and covered up the investigation of the scandal. “It failed to modernize testing agencies and regulations,” he says. As before, instead of real controls, there are primarily formal reviews.

Almost all manufacturers have done something similar to VW, but did not admit it

The diesel scandal was expensive for the auto industry. According to its own statements, VW alone has so far spent 32 billion euros on fines, compensation and legal costs, including 24 billion in the USA. The damage to the image cannot be quantified. “We have learned lessons from the past and are working hard to win back social trust,” says a VW spokesman. Among other things, the group has introduced a whistleblower system so that irregularities can be punished at an early stage. Hierarchies have been dismantled and a lot of jobs have been created for people who monitor compliance – that is, legal compliance – of the group.

“We are determined to take a leading role in the areas of sustainable mobility and social responsibility and to become a more international and diverse organization,” says the spokesman. Like no other German car manufacturer, VW relies on electric vehicles. That would have been unthinkable with the management staff from the times of the diesel scandal.

Also consequences for consumer protection

Jürgen Resch, Managing Director of Deutsche Umwelthilfe, does not believe that the automotive industry has been purified. Probably the most active German critic in the industry, who became known nationwide for the implementation of diesel driving bans, continues to see politicians in the “stranglehold of the auto industry”. “The non-controls are scandalous,” says Resch. But he also sees positive consequences of the fraud scandal. “We have succeeded in making the connections between politics and industry public and scandalizing them,” he says. He is convinced that the fraud scandal is accelerating the exit from the internal combustion engine, and not just at VW. “It gives the traffic turnaround a tailwind,” he says. Because the topic of clean air in cities has received a lot of attention due to the diesel scandal, more and more people are calling for alternatives to the car, such as better bike paths and better public transport.

The scandal has shown the consumers in Europe how different compensation regulations are in the USA and in Germany. There is the instrument of class action, with which the injured party can easily enforce high claims for damages. It doesn’t exist here. But at least: The federal government hastened to introduce a so-called model declaratory action for harmed consumers before their claims became statute-barred. “Without the diesel scandal, the model declaratory action would not have come so quickly,” says Ronny Jahn, head of the model declaratory actions team at the German Consumer Association (vzbv).

The consumer association negotiated a settlement with VW in this way. “It provides for a payment between 1,350 euros and 6,257 euros for 265,000 consumers,” reports Jahn. 240,000 buyers accepted this settlement, so that VW paid out a total of 750 million euros. Consumers who did not accept the comparison in the hope of higher compensation could sue individually. A total of around 50,000 lawsuits are still pending. The diesel scandal showed one thing, says Jahn: “It is worth making your claims.”


Economist on the supply chain law: “It’s a question of decency”

The supply chain law is intended to safeguard human rights – and neither overwhelms medium-sized businesses nor exporters, says Achim Truger.

All right with human rights? In a coltan mine in the Congo Photo: image

taz: Mr. Truger, chocolate, smartphones and other products that are sold in this country should be guaranteed human rights. German companies must guarantee reasonable conditions for employees abroad. Will that damage the German economy?

Achim Truger: First of all, it’s a matter of decency and fairness. Our consumer goods should not be manufactured in violation of human rights. The international employers ‘association, of which the German employers’ association is a member, promised in 2011. However, 80 percent of German companies have not yet implemented this voluntary commitment. It is therefore understandable that the government is now writing a law.

With the Supply Chain Act, Development Minister Gerd Müller and Labor Minister Hubertus Heil want to oblige local companies to check their foreign suppliers. Does that actually cause considerable costs, as Economics Minister Peter Altmaier says?

Companies would have to bear these expenses anyway if they kept their voluntary commitment. Incidentally, you also have to include the image gain for the company on the benefit side.

Achim Truger, 51, is a member of the Council of Economic Experts – the so-called economic modes that advise the federal government. As a professor of socio-economics, he teaches at the University of Duisburg-Essen.

The German companies have to hire experts who travel to Asia and Africa to monitor fire protection and other things on site. That costs it!

That depends above all on the design. It is about setting up management procedures and identifying and limiting the main risks. That does not cause any gigantic costs. A study for the EU Commission estimates the expenditure for the relevant companies to be less than 0.01 percent of sales.

The new rules should also apply to larger medium-sized companies. These do not have that great management, but would have to control dozens or even hundreds of producers of intermediate products.

German medium-sized companies are already able to organize their supply chains very well. Otherwise they would not be so successful. And those who guarantee the excellent quality of their products from a technical point of view will also be able to do so when it comes to wages, working hours and fire protection at the main suppliers.

The comparable French law only covers large companies with at least 5,000 employees. Is that more realistic?

The economic structures are difficult to compare. After all, there is already a law in France. The employment limit should not be so high, otherwise the law will have little effect because it affects too few companies.

The Association of Mechanical Engineers believes that the supply chains are often so complexly distributed over dozen countries that companies can hardly keep track of them. Are they not then quickly liable for something that is beyond their control?

These are more likely arguments of the business lobby trying to soften the law. The companies would have to prove that they take preventive measures to exclude risks in their supplier factories. If they do this in an appropriate manner, they shouldn’t have any problems with liability.

Does the law call into question the German export business model and growth?

No. Any adverse effects will be so small that they are quantitatively drowned in the statistical noise.


Criticism of the new battery law: expiry date already built in

The federal government is regulating the take-back and recycling of batteries – and is receiving a lot of criticism for this.

The federal government is regulating the return and recycling of batteries, but not for the better Photo: Marius Schwarz / imago

BERLIN taz | The new law is “a step backwards for environmental protection”, the indignant Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH). “The draft does not contain any ecologically or environmentally relevant improvements,” says the Remondis waste disposal company. There is a threat of “competition for the lowest possible collection quotas and quantities,” warns the Foundation for the Joint Take-Back System for Batteries (GRS). On Thursday evening, the Bundestag is supposed to pass the federal government’s new battery law. It received mostly bad reviews from experts and the opposition.

Up until last year there was a common take-back system for batteries in Germany, but this collapsed when more and more dealers withdrew from it and joined their own, manufacturer-oriented take-back systems. The new law responds to this and now envisages a competitive model. The GRS Foundation now appears as a profit-oriented company. Collection rates of 50 percent are provided for device batteries.

Similar to packaging disposal, manufacturers and retailers can look for a service company with whom they can commission the return and disposal of the batteries they have sold. In future, “all take-back systems should be able to compete fairly with one another in free competition,” explains a spokesman for the Federal Environment Ministry. “The current amendment creates legal security for all actors,” he said.

The “turning away from a jointly supported system is very critical to us,” says the statement of the municipal umbrella organizations on the law. Only such a system would reliably ensure that old batteries are collected and recycled across the board.

Decentralized collection points will have a harder time

The Association of Municipal Enterprises (VKU) is also critical of the amendment: “We fear that central collection points with a large number of used batteries may be preferred by the take-back systems, while decentralized collection points will have a harder time finding a partner who can handle the used batteries a spokesman for the association. That endangers the security of disposal.

The amendment does not deal with the changing battery market with more and more lithium-ion batteries. “Further changes with regard to batteries for electromobility or the increase in collection and recycling quotas will only be on the EU agenda in October 2020,” says a spokesman for the Federal Environment Ministry. One does not want to anticipate that.

There is a threat of a flood of old lithium-ion batteries

“With this draft law, the grand coalition is weakening the battery collection in Germany,” says Bettina Hoffmann, environmental policy spokeswoman for the Greens in the Bundestag. This lack of any ambition on the part of the federal government is also a disastrous signal to Brussels, where an amendment to the battery directive is currently being worked on. “The expert hearing in the Bundestag was clear,” said Hoffmann, “the federal government should have withdrawn this draft law and presented a fundamentally revised amendment.”

However, experts have long been calling for the flood of new lithium-ion batteries to be regulated by law, which are being used in more and more devices – and will soon also be used en masse in cars. At the end of August, for example, the Freiburg Öko-Institut presented the paper “Status and perspectives of the recycling of lithium-ion batteries from electromobility” and stated: “Because a considerable share of the market growth of global electromobility is expected in Europe and in this context Many gigafactories for the production of lithium-ion cells are to be set up in Europe, the optimization of the recycling of lithium-ion batteries to strengthen an environmentally and socially compatible source of secondary raw materials for key materials is of great strategic importance. “

In the next 10 to 30 years, the demand for raw materials can be expected to grow considerably. In the case of an “ambitious recycling of lithium-ion batteries”, an increasing demand for lithium, cobalt and nickel compounds for new battery cells can also be met from recycling, according to the paper. In order to strengthen an environmentally and socially compatible source of secondary raw materials for key materials, recycling is therefore of great strategic importance.


Police operation in Dannenröder forest: barricades in “Danni” cleared

In the occupied forest, the police removed barriers on the paths. This prepares the clearance and clearing.

Only after hours cleared by the police: A climbing activist in the Dannenröder forest Photo: Boris Roessler / dpa

BERLIN taz | In the Dannenröder forest, the police began to clear barricades on Wednesday. The forest is to be partially cleared and cut up from October 1st for the construction of the Autobahn 49 from Kassel to Gießen; To prevent this, climate protection activists have occupied it and built around 50 tree houses, in which around 100 people are said to live.

The tree houses were not yet affected by the operation on Wednesday. The police only tried to clear the access roads. At first she did not get far, because the main driveway was blocked by a so-called tripod – a construction made of three tree trunks on which a woman had abseiled. Only in the afternoon could it be removed from there by the height rescue team of the police with the help of a lifting platform. Activists accused the police on twitter before having endangered the woman in action; a police spokesman rejected this.

Around 100 other people tried to block the work with blockades. There were individual scuffles, two people were arrested. The police accuse them of dangerous interference in traffic and resistance. Eight other people were taken into custody for identification purposes. According to the police, a paint bag was thrown at a vehicle and a tire was destroyed.

The protests in Dannenröder forest are supported by many organizations, including BUND, Robin Wood and Campact. “The black-green Hessian state government takes on the entire climate justice movement if it allows the Dannenröder forest to be cleared,” said alliance spokeswoman Clara Thompson.

Demo planned for Friday

The associations criticize both the destruction of the old beech forest, which is in an FFH protected area and is important for the drinking water supply in the region, and the construction of the motorway. According to a declaration of solidarity, this is a symbol of the unsuccessful auto-centered transport policy of the past. That the Greens, as part of the state government, support this is “disconcerting”. On Friday, on “Danni”, as the forest is now called after the previously occupied “Hambi”, a demonstration against clearing is to take place.


Climate protection in Europe: EU Commission reaches climate target

According to the new plan, the confederation should save at least 55 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990. Is that enough?

Climate protest in Warsaw: Poland’s coal-fired power plants are among the EU’s largest CO2 emitters Photo: Piotr Molecki / Eastnews / Imago

It’s an open secret in Brussels: the EU Commission wants to raise the European target for climate protection by 2030. Instead of the previous 40 percent, the CO2– Emissions are reduced by 55 percent compared to 1990, to be zero by the middle of the century.

Authority chief Ursula von der Leyen wants to officially announce this on Wednesday in her speech on the “State of the Union”. This emerges from the new, not yet published climate plan of the EU Commission, which the taz has received.

According to the 23-page draft, the EU Commission is betting that the European emissions trading system will be expanded and refined. The system is also intended to be applied to buildings and road traffic.

In addition, the EU Commission wants to take land use into account when meeting the climate protection target. The reforestation of forests or the renouncement of the further sealing of the soil through new buildings should around 5 percent of the savings in CO2Emissions. Land use was not included in the old target. So the new target actually corresponds to a tightening of 10 instead of 15 percentage points.

Green MEP: “We are setting new standards”

The plans are well received in the European Parliament, but some MPs are calling for even more climate policy ambition. Last Friday, the Environment Committee spoke out in favor of a 60 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030, rather than 55. “With this climate law, we are setting new standards in climate protection for the largest economic area in the world,” said a delighted Green MP Michael Bloss.

However, not everyone is participating in the even higher goal. The more business-oriented industry committee had previously voted for 55 percent. The CDU MP Markus Pieper railed after the narrow vote about “unrealistic” goals against the background of the corona crisis and complained about inconsistencies in the counting of the votes. In October, the European Parliament as a whole wants to determine its position. The von der Leyens speech on Wednesday is an important step – but the EU is far from reaching its goal.

Climate activist Luisa Neubauer criticized that the advance was not enough

Climate activist Luisa Neubauer from Fridays for Future criticized that the initiative of the EU Commission was insufficient. “In essence, this proposal raises the question of whether the Commission wants to comply with the Paris Agreement at all,” she said. Von der Leyen’s plan is not compatible with the climate treaty.

Is that correct? Given the way the Paris Agreement is designed, it’s not that easy to say. The Paris Agreement of 2015 primarily provides for the global warming to stop at “well below two degrees” compared to pre-industrial times. But it also mentions that you want to make an effort to stay at 1.5 degrees if possible.

On behalf of the states of the Paris Agreement, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) worked out in a special report how much the half degree difference between the two goals actually makes. The result: Above 1.5 degrees there is a risk of so-called tipping elements being activated in the earth system, which would cause climate change to heat itself up.

Under international law, the 1.5-degree target has not replaced the weaker main target. But it has become more important in climate policy – and also in international climate negotiations. After all, the whole point of the Paris Agreement is to prevent dangerous climate change. And that could be in the house at two degrees.

If the world halves greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2030 and then reduces them to net zero by 2050, it has a 50 percent chance of keeping global warming at 1.5 degrees, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The target proposed by the EU Commission would be in line with this – provided it is adhered to.

The probability of a coin toss is of course still a risk. In addition, recent studies indicate that the IPCC is the global CO2-Budget overestimated. This means that EU climate neutrality in 2050 would be too late, even with a fifty-fifty chance of reaching the 1.5 degree target. A researcher led by climate scientist Joeri Rogelj from the British University Imperial College came to the conclusion last year that the world would have to be climate neutral by the end of 2038.

What is also disputed is how the remaining CO2-Budget is divided among the states. The climate treaty only makes vague statements about this.

Some countries should be given a little more time to decarbonise than others if, for example, they also have to fight poverty and food insecurity. Conversely, this means that other states have to be at zero sooner. The rich EU belongs to the latter group.


CO2 labeling of food: muesli with a climate crisis

The petitions committee of the Bundestag advises on Monday about CO2 labeling of food. There are no simple solutions.

A good breakfast: delicious and healthy – but also climate neutral? Photo: dpa

BERLIN taz | How much climate crisis do I add to my muesli in the morning? Is my guilty conscience really necessary at the barbecue evening? There will soon be an answer to such agonizing questions, at least the initiators of a petition that will be discussed on Monday in the responsible committee of the Bundestag hope: a CO2-Labelling of food.

That doesn’t sound bad: When customers see how much CO2 If there is quark in a cup (because of the milk and the associated methane and nitrous oxide emissions from the cattle), even the vegetarian gets the quark ball stuck in the throat. Not to mention meat or cheese.

The climate-conscious buyer quickly reaches for a soy or oat drink. At least that’s what the company Oatly, which produces such drinks, hopes – and which started this petition last year with a large advertising campaign. “Hey, Bundestag!”, It was then said in full-page advertisements, you have to talk about it – because 57,067 people had signed.

And that’s how it should come on Monday. The committee will hear the petition and the reasoning that the food industry accounts for around 25 percent of all greenhouse gases. And that as a responsible consumer you should be able to choose what you expect from your mouth and the atmosphere.

The carbon footprint depends on many factors

The idea is sure to be well received from many sides. Many climate protectors are paying less attention to meat and animal products, many scientists who research the climate every day are now eating vegetarian food. However, experts also point out that it is not that easy with a label. Because how big the CO2-Footprint is also related to the transport: A liter of milk from Bavaria can have good values ​​at first – if it is carted to Hamburg, it looks quite different. How is that supposed to depict a simple, easy-to-read seal? And what about regional, ecological and social aspects?

It’s not that easy. Perhaps the experts at the hearing will have ideas about this. Or after appearing in the petitions committee, a few clever people sit down and make a proposal. Even if it was only to save the mood with the muesli.


Sustainability in the digital: streaming in green?

A new environmental protection model is to calculate the ecological footprint of streaming providers. It would make more sense for manufacturers to update them.

Ecological footprint of streaming and mail providers: There is no labeling in sight Foto: Bruce R. Bennett/ZUMA Press/imago

It’s not like there’s no progress in the world. A calculation model has now been developed which can be used to determine the ecological footprint of cloud services.

On Thursday, the Ministry of the Environment, the Federal Environment Agency and the Öko-Institut presented an idea of ​​how streaming offers or email providers can calculate and label their services. So that consumers choose the more ecological offer.

It’s almost a little funny. Not only because it seems rather absurd that users choose their streaming providers, which differ significantly in terms of content, based on their ecological footprint, of all things. But also because – for example with e-mail providers, cloud services or search engines – very few users pay attention to data protection. So to a point that would bring you real, individual advantages.

There is another reason why consumers are unlikely to choose their IT services based on the size of their ecological footprint: A corresponding label is not in sight, not even very small on the horizon. From this point of view, it is by no means funny that the question of what the life cycle assessment of IT looks like is still being asked at this level. Because there have long been numerous approaches that can help conserve resources. Starting with sustainable programming, where the aim is to use hardware as efficiently as possible and keep power consumption low.

Or the longevity of software: Legislators could do a lot here and oblige manufacturers of networked devices such as smartphones, but also of kitchen appliances and cars to update. Right up to public procurement practice – how about an obligation to not only look at profitability, but also at sustainability? Yes, it could all be inconvenient and expensive. But there are ways to initiate quick and effective change.


African swine fever in Brandenburg: Dead pig messes up exports

An infected carcass is discovered for the first time in Brandenburg. Critics blame factory farming.

Take care with your colleagues from Brandenburg: Bavarian wild boar Photo: Lino Mirgeler / dpa

BERLIN taz | African swine fever has reached Germany. The disease, which is harmless to humans, was first detected in a dead wild boar in Brandenburg near the border with Poland, as Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) announced on Thursday in Berlin.

South Korea then imposed an immediate ban on the import of German pork, because the virus could, for example, be transmitted to the animals there via raw sausage. The meat industry association assumes that exports to China, Germany’s largest customer, will soon “come to a complete standstill”.

Klöckner emphasized that it is harmless to eat potentially contaminated meat. But the disease could wreak havoc in agriculture. Because the disease is almost always fatal for pigs. In affected farms and their surroundings, all animals are usually killed to prevent further spread. The animal disease fund reimburses the farms for the value. But the second largest branch of German agriculture last year could break away important sales markets.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, 27 percent of German pork exports went to China in the first half of 2020. According to a taz estimate, this corresponded to around 10 percent of the German slaughter rate. “That is already decisive for the market,” said market analyst Josef Efken from the federally owned Thünen Agricultural Research Institute of the taz. Foreign countries buy about half of the total German slaughter.

Petitions to China, bans in Brandenburg

That is why the Federal Ministry of Agriculture now wants to negotiate with customers like China that they only block meat from the affected region in Brandenburg. Few pigs are kept there – unlike in strongholds like Emsland in Lower Saxony.

At the same time, the authorities want to limit the source of infection. The location of the wild boar carcass is in the Spree-Neisse district, said Brandenburg’s consumer minister Ursula Nonnemacher (Greens). In a zone with a radius of 15 kilometers around the place, a hunting ban is ordered so as not to scare wild boars.

Events with pigs such as farm festivals or agricultural shows are prohibited. Later, a core zone with a radius of at least 3 kilometers should also be set up. State veterinarian Stephan Nickisch said that it should be fenced in and entry prohibited.

The Friedrich Loeffler Institute for Animal Health examined three samples of the dead wild boar that night. All were clearly positive, said office manager Thomas Mettenleiter. According to him, the outbreak could be related to the one in western Poland. “It now remains to analyze whether this is an isolated case, whether the epidemic has already spread.”

Model of the Czech Republic and Belgium

The dead animal had rotted heavily and had “certainly been there for some time”. Mettenleiter pointed out that other countries had also managed to become disease-free again. In 2017/18 the Czech Republic and Belgium “managed to eradicate the disease again with very rigorous, consistent measures”.

The President of the German Farmers’ Association, Joachim Rukwied, called for wild boars to be “hunted” consistently and a stable fence to be built. “We absolutely need a wild boar-free zone on the Polish border,” he said. Travelers shouldn’t carelessly throw away sausage sandwiches and other leftover food because the virus could survive in them.

The German Animal Welfare Association, on the other hand, rejected increased hunting of wild boars. Since the animals are frightened and scattered by the hunt, this would massively increase the risk of infection.

“Unfortunately, as is so often the case with epidemics, we have to renew the criticism of the system,” said Association President Thomas Schröder: “The intensive keeping of pigs in ever larger herds and the specialization of farms, combined with frequent animal transports across national borders, harbor the risk that necessary measures up to and including killing can no longer be limited regionally and to a few animals. “

Criticism of Klöckner

“With a view to the risk of epidemic hygiene, especially regions with a very high concentration of pig farming are exposed to a high risk,” added the agricultural policy spokesman for the Greens in the Bundestag, Friedrich Ostendorff. Agriculture Minister Klöckner must provide answers on how the decentralization and equalization of pig farming and slaughter can be achieved.

The animal protection policy spokeswoman for the SPD in the Bundestag, Susanne Mittag, announced that the high animal populations in Germany, which are above the level of self-sufficiency, increase the disease pressure in the event of an epidemic. “The outbreak of African swine fever in Germany should bring Ms. Klöckner to a more consistent rethink.”


WWF study on population decline: 97 percent fewer sturgeons

Many animal populations around the world have decreased dramatically since 1970. The WWF speaks of a new low in biodiversity.

Badly decimated in many places: This sturgeon is released again in the Oder Photo: Patrick Pleul / dpa

BERLIN taz | According to a study, numerous animal populations worldwide have shrunk by more than two thirds in recent decades. The decline in around 21,000 observed populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles between 1970 and 2016 averages 68 percent.

This emerges from the Living Planet Report 2020 published on Thursday by the environmental foundation WWF and the London Zoological Society. This means that the value has deteriorated further compared to the previous edition of 2018.

The results confirm a large-scale study from July, according to which the extinction of species is in some cases even faster than previously assumed. The meta-examination of 123 research papers indicated that common forecast models over-simplify – and often even underestimate the loss of species through clearing, fires, draining or other so-called habitat destruction.

Lowland gorilla and leatherback turtle endangered

The WWF study included populations of more than 4,400 endangered and non-threatened vertebrate species, i.e. only a small section of the animal world. Insects are not included. The WWF speaks of a new low in biodiversity. “We are losing the diversity of life on earth,” said the foundation’s director of nature conservation, Christoph Heinrich, of the German press agency.

The WWF names the eastern lowland gorilla in the Congo, leatherback turtles in Costa Rica and sturgeon in the Yangtze as particularly endangered animals – the decline in the latter has been 97 percent since 1970. In Germany, according to Heinrich, partridge and lapwing, for example, are affected by significant populations.