Europe is under attack by a slimy killer, warns the European Environment Agency

2009 - 01 - 09
Europe is under attack by a slimy killer, warns the European Environment Agency

The killer slug, which relentlessly attacks flowers, vegetables, and eats native slug species, is one of the major threats to Europe’s nature. This is stated in the report on the state of the environment in Europe “Signals 2009”, presented today in Prague by Director Jacqueline McGlade of the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Exotic animals, according to the study, are responsible for the decline of native European species. The invasion of exotic animals and plants into Europe causes enormous environmental and economic losses. Europe must therefore spend more than 10 billion euros a year to control and cover the damage caused by these species.

One of the most widespread invasive species is the Spanish slug, which began to spread through the continent thirty years ago. It mainly causes damage to farmers, whose crops it liquidates. The slug earned its killer nickname due to its aggressiveness and its consumption of other slugs.

“Invasive species cause enormous damage to Europe’s nature. Imports of any plant and animal species from outside Europe should therefore be significantly tightened. At the same time, it is necessary to limit the import of commodities where there is a significant risk of the unwanted introduction of invasive species,” said Director Dalibor Dostal of the European Wildlife conservation organization.

The “Signals 2009” study highlights other environmental issues as well. In particular, Europe faces deteriorating air quality in its cities. According to EEA data, the life expectancy of people in the major EU cities has decreased by eight months due to high concentrations of fine dust particles.

Experts also warn of water scarcity, not only in the southern areas but in northern Europe as well. “Water is decreasing even in Scandinavia,” noted Jacqueline McGlade. This water loss is caused by global climate change caused by human activities. A new global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions after 2012 should be a tool for slowing the changes.

Photo: Bernard Dupont / Wikimedia

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