Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Singapore Responds to “Unhealthiest” Country Tag"

Singapore: The World’s “Unhealthiest” Country?

Singapore’s lawmakers have always worried their city-state’s growth is unsustainable given its lack of water, energy and other natural resources. But a new study says matters may be worse than they know, with the country’s current “ecological deficit” leaving it last out of 150 countries ranked for their overall economic and ecological health.

The Eco2 Index, crafted by researchers at the University of British Columbia, looks at both the economic and ecological security of a country and how fast countries are using up resources at their disposal – an initiative they say was promoted by the threat of climate change, a growing world population and mounting financial problems.

“We hear that countries are suffering financially every day in the news, but that only tells half the story,” said Rashid Sumaila, director of the university’s Fisheries Centre, in a statement. “Piling up ecological deficits is just as concerning as piling up financial deficits.”

Singapore was joined by other high-income countries at the bottom of the list, with many sharing similar land and resource scarcity problems. The five “unhealthiest” countries according to the index besides Singapore were Jordan, South Korea, Israel and Kuwait. The researchers hope that this list will be able to better prepare these countries in planning their consumption and future resource needs.

Coming out top on the list were Bolivia, Angola, Namibia, Paraguay and Argentina, even though they may have relatively weaker economies. Researchers say are better prepared to offer future generations the financial, food, water and energy security they require.

The Southeast Asian country coming out on top in the index was Myanmar, ranked 32 out of the 150 countries. Resource-rich Indonesia was ranked at 42, despite having significant pollution problems, with Malaysia and Thailand at No. 80 and 96 respectively.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia partnered with a non-governmental organization focused on ecological sustainability, known as the Global Footprint Network, in compiling the list, using figures and data from the World Bank..............

Singapore Responds to “Unhealthiest” Country Tag

When researchers deemed Singapore – with its manicured gardens, clean tap water and chewing gum-free streets – the world’s “unhealthiest” country with the biggest “ecological deficit,” some residents of the city-state were a little puzzled.

Known as the Eco2 Index, the measure crafted by researchers at the University of British Columbia looked at both the economic and ecological security of countries around the world, ranking them lower if they have limited natural resources at their disposal to meet their resource needs. Researchers said countries that ranked lowest (Singapore was last out of 150 countries) were unprepared when it comes to planning for their consumption and future needs, using up resources faster than they will be able to replace them.

Singapore’s government, known to be meticulous planners, have responded to the index’s results, which they say are “biased against import-dependent, land-scarce, densely populated countries such as Singapore,” which by their nature and geographic location must rely heavily on imported resources like food and gas.

“As a city-state, it would have been more relevant if Singapore was benchmarked against other cities, which typically are also import-dependent for energy, food and water, rather than countries,” said a spokesperson from the country’s Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources........................

ranking of economic and ecological health