Italy is the Mediterranean country with the highest environmental debt, according to data released by the Global Footprint Network.
In other words, Italy uses more resources than it renews.
''This study examined country footprints from 1961-2008,'' explained World Wildlife Fund Italy (WWF) Scientific Director Gianfranco Bologna. ''Italy had the highest ecological deficit in the region. Overall, energy and services demand in the region rose 197% in 47 years, tripling the ecological deficit (+230%).
In the last four years, difference between local supply and demand rose by 150%.'' Italy's ecological deficit is 23%, according to the report.
Next are Spain (17%), France (13%), Turkey (10%) and Egypt (9%).
Portugal was the sole country that reduced its eco-debt, by 18% from 1998-2008. In 2008, the countries that contributed more than 50% to the region's footprint were France (21%), Italy (18%) and Spain (14%). The southern shore of the Mediterranean looks ready to follow suit, for the richer a country becomes, the bigger its demand for resources and therefore its footprint. ''Between 1961-2008, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Syria went from being eco-creditors to debtors, with Algeria making the biggest jump,'' Bologna explained.