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ENVIRONMENT

Why Denmark’s bees are becoming a rarer sight

Several species of insect are declining in Denmark, with bees notably reduced in number compared to years past.

bees
Many species of bee are declining in Denmark. File photo: Yves Herman/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

As many as 56 species of bee – one in five of the insects in the wild – is in danger of disappearing from Denmark’s nature, according to the World Wildlife Fund, WWF.

35 of the bee species are categorised as endangered or critically endangered, while 21 are “vulnerable”. 19 can already no longer be found in Denmark.

“One thing is that wild bees live their lives, reproduce and are prey for animals like birds and thereby form part of the food chain. Another thing is that they pollinate our wild flowers and in part our crops, along with many other insects,” Thor Hjarsen, senior biologist with WWF, told news wire Ritzau.

Denmark has around 300 different species of bee altogether.

Part of the cause of their decline is the removal of many of their natural habitats from urban and agricultural areas. Some fertilizers are meanwhile poisonous to the insects.

Bees and butterflies, both important pollinators, are among the most endangered species in Denmark, an expert said.

“The bees represent a loss of diversity. There are some bees and butterflies we simply don’t see anymore in our nature,” Rasmus Ernjæs, a biodiversity researcher at Aarhus University, told Ritzau.

Hjarsen said the loss of bees represented a potential problem for food security.

“The important role played by bees in the ecosystem and our food production is at the core of this problem,” he said.

The senior biologist called for more wild habitats to be created to help bees make a comeback.

“But if you make a habitat in your garden or local park they will actually come back there too,” he said.

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ENVIRONMENT

Danish waste company forced to import rubbish from abroad

The high-tech Amager Bakke waste-to-energy plant is running out of rubbish supplies from the local region and will have to start importing from outside Denmark. 

Danish waste company forced to import rubbish from abroad

When ARC’s incinerator, Amager Bakke, opened in March 2017, it was one of the most modern green energy plants Denmark had ever seen.

The high-tech waste plant is designed to destroy huge amounts of trash from Copenhagen and convert it into energy which is used to heat thousands of homes in the region. It is one of two plants which play a major role in Copenhagen’s ambitions of meeting zero carbon requirements by 2025.

But now, ironically, as municipalities have become very efficient in waste sorting and recycling, the plant is quickly running out of its most important raw material: rubbish.

This has impacted the plant’s finances, so now the five municipalities behind ARC have agreed on a plan that will both improve the economy and provide heat for the capital’s homes: waste from surrounding countries will be shipped to Denmark and burned at the Amager Bakke plant.

READ ALSO: EU countries need better recycling, Copenhagen agency finds

Until now, the owner municipalities had blocked ARC’s ability to source waste through imports, but the agreement provides a waiver to allow imports to be increased until the end of 2025 to keep the furnaces running. 

In a press release, the five owner municipalities state that the increased imports will also increase CO2 emissions – but: “The alternative is that the municipalities will have to recycle less waste, that ARC’s finances will be worse – and even that there may be a need to import gas, which comes from Russia, among other places.”

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