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Environment > Current issues: Countries Compared

DEFINITION: This entry lists the most pressing and important environmental problems. The following terms and abbreviations are used throughout the entry:.

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION
AfghanistanAfghanistan limited natural fresh water resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil degradation; overgrazing; deforestation (much of the remaining forests are being cut down for fuel and building materials); desertification; air and water pollution
AkrotiriAkrotiri hunting around the salt lake; note - breeding place for loggerhead and green turtles; only remaining colony of griffon vultures is on the base
AlbaniaAlbania deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents
AlgeriaAlgeria soil erosion from overgrazing and other poor farming practices; desertification; dumping of raw sewage, petroleum refining wastes, and other industrial effluents is leading to the pollution of rivers and coastal waters; Mediterranean Sea, in particular, becoming polluted from oil wastes, soil erosion, and fertilizer runoff; inadequate supplies of potable water
American SamoaAmerican Samoa limited natural fresh water resources; the water division of the government has spent substantial funds in the past few years to improve water catchments and pipelines
AndorraAndorra deforestation; overgrazing of mountain meadows contributes to soil erosion; air pollution; wastewater treatment and solid waste disposal
AngolaAngola overuse of pastures and subsequent soil erosion attributable to population pressures; desertification; deforestation of tropical rain forest, in response to both international demand for tropical timber and to domestic use as fuel, resulting in loss of biodiversity; soil erosion contributing to water pollution and siltation of rivers and dams; inadequate supplies of potable water
AnguillaAnguilla supplies of potable water sometimes cannot meet increasing demand largely because of poor distribution system
AntarcticaAntarctica in 1998, NASA satellite data showed that the Antarctic ozone hole was the largest on record, covering 27 million square kilometers; researchers in 1997 found that increased ultraviolet light passing through the hole damages the DNA of icefish, an Antarctic fish lacking hemoglobin; ozone depletion earlier was shown to harm one-celled Antarctic marine plants; in 2002, significant areas of ice shelves disintegrated in response to regional warming
Antigua and BarbudaAntigua+ water management - a major concern because of limited natural fresh water resources - is further hampered by the clearing of trees to increase crop production, causing rainfall to run off quickly
Arctic OceanArctic Ocean endangered marine species include walruses and whales; fragile ecosystem slow to change and slow to recover from disruptions or damage; thinning polar icepack
ArgentinaArgentina environmental problems (urban and rural) typical of an industrializing economy such as deforestation, soil degradation, desertification, air pollution, and water pollution
ArmeniaArmenia soil pollution from toxic chemicals such as DDT; the energy crisis of the 1990s led to deforestation when citizens scavenged for firewood; pollution of Hrazdan (Razdan) and Aras Rivers; the draining of Sevana Lich (Lake Sevan), a result of its use as a source for hydropower, threatens drinking water supplies; restart of Metsamor nuclear power plant in spite of its location in a seismically active zone
ArubaAruba NA
Ashmore and Cartier IslandsAshmore+ illegal killing of protected wildlife by traditional Indonesian fisherman, as well as fishing by non-traditional Indonesian vessels, are ongoing problems
Atlantic OceanAtlantic Ocean endangered marine species include the manatee, seals, sea lions, turtles, and whales; drift net fishing is hastening the decline of fish stocks and contributing to international disputes; municipal sludge pollution off eastern US, southern Brazil, and eastern Argentina; oil pollution in Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Lake Maracaibo, Mediterranean Sea, and North Sea; industrial waste and municipal sewage pollution in Baltic Sea, North Sea, and Mediterranean Sea
AustraliaAustralia soil erosion from overgrazing, industrial development, urbanization, and poor farming practices; soil salinity rising due to the use of poor quality water; desertification; clearing for agricultural purposes threatens the natural habitat of many unique animal and plant species; the Great Barrier Reef off the northeast coast, the largest coral reef in the world, is threatened by increased shipping and its popularity as a tourist site; limited natural fresh water resources
AustriaAustria some forest degradation caused by air and soil pollution; soil pollution results from the use of agricultural chemicals; air pollution results from emissions by coal- and oil-fired power stations and industrial plants and from trucks transiting Austria between northern and southern Europe
AzerbaijanAzerbaijan local scientists consider the Abseron Yasaqligi (Apsheron Peninsula) (including Baku and Sumqayit) and the Caspian Sea to be the ecologically most devastated area in the world because of severe air, soil, and water pollution; soil pollution results from oil spills, from the use of DDT pesticide, and from toxic defoliants used in the production of cotton
BahrainBahrain desertification resulting from the degradation of limited arable land, periods of drought, and dust storms; coastal degradation (damage to coastlines, coral reefs, and sea vegetation) resulting from oil spills and other discharges from large tankers, oil refineries, and distribution stations; lack of freshwater resources (groundwater and seawater are the only sources for all water needs)
Baker IslandBaker Island no natural fresh water resources
BangladeshBangladesh many people are landless and forced to live on and cultivate flood-prone land; waterborne diseases prevalent in surface water; water pollution, especially of fishing areas, results from the use of commercial pesticides; ground water contaminated by naturally occurring arsenic; intermittent water shortages because of falling water tables in the northern and central parts of the country; soil degradation and erosion; deforestation; severe overpopulation
BarbadosBarbados pollution of coastal waters from waste disposal by ships; soil erosion; illegal solid waste disposal threatens contamination of aquifers
BelarusBelarus soil pollution from pesticide use; southern part of the country contaminated with fallout from 1986 nuclear reactor accident at Chornobyl' in northern Ukraine
BelgiumBelgium the environment is exposed to intense pressures from human activities: urbanization, dense transportation network, industry, extensive animal breeding and crop cultivation; air and water pollution also have repercussions for neighboring countries; uncertainties regarding federal and regional responsibilities (now resolved) had slowed progress in tackling environmental challenges
BelizeBelize deforestation; water pollution from sewage, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff; solid and sewage waste disposal
BeninBenin inadequate supplies of potable water; poaching threatens wildlife populations; deforestation; desertification
BermudaBermuda sustainable development
BhutanBhutan soil erosion; limited access to potable water
BoliviaBolivia the clearing of land for agricultural purposes and the international demand for tropical timber are contributing to deforestation; soil erosion from overgrazing and poor cultivation methods (including slash-and-burn agriculture); desertification; loss of biodiversity; industrial pollution of water supplies used for drinking and irrigation
Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia+ air pollution from metallurgical plants; sites for disposing of urban waste are limited; water shortages and destruction of infrastructure because of the 1992-95 civil strife; deforestation
BotswanaBotswana overgrazing; desertification; limited fresh water resources
Bouvet IslandBouvet Island NA
BrazilBrazil deforestation in Amazon Basin destroys the habitat and endangers a multitude of plant and animal species indigenous to the area; there is a lucrative illegal wildlife trade; air and water pollution in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and several other large cities; land degradation and water pollution caused by improper mining activities; wetland degradation; severe oil spills
British Indian Ocean TerritoryIndian Ocean NA
British Virgin IslandsBrit. Virgin Isl. limited natural fresh water resources (except for a few seasonal streams and springs on Tortola, most of the islands' water supply comes from wells and rainwater catchments)
BruneiBrunei seasonal smoke/haze resulting from forest fires in Indonesia
BulgariaBulgaria air pollution from industrial emissions; rivers polluted from raw sewage, heavy metals, detergents; deforestation; forest damage from air pollution and resulting acid rain; soil contamination from heavy metals from metallurgical plants and industrial wastes
Burkina FasoBurkina Faso recent droughts and desertification severely affecting agricultural activities, population distribution, and the economy; overgrazing; soil degradation; deforestation
BurmaBurma deforestation; industrial pollution of air, soil, and water; inadequate sanitation and water treatment contribute to disease
BurundiBurundi soil erosion as a result of overgrazing and the expansion of agriculture into marginal lands; deforestation (little forested land remains because of uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel); habitat loss threatens wildlife populations
CambodiaCambodia illegal logging activities throughout the country and strip mining for gems in the western region along the border with Thailand have resulted in habitat loss and declining biodiversity (in particular, destruction of mangrove swamps threatens natural fisheries); soil erosion; in rural areas, most of the population does not have access to potable water; declining fish stocks because of illegal fishing and overfishing
CameroonCameroon waterborne diseases are prevalent; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; poaching; overfishing
CanadaCanada air pollution and resulting acid rain severely affecting lakes and damaging forests; metal smelting, coal-burning utilities, and vehicle emissions impacting on agricultural and forest productivity; ocean waters becoming contaminated due to agricultural, industrial, mining, and forestry activities
Cape VerdeCape Verde soil erosion; deforestation due to demand for wood used as fuel; water shortages; desertification; environmental damage has threatened several species of birds and reptiles; illegal beach sand extraction; overfishing
Cayman IslandsCayman Islands no natural fresh water resources; drinking water supplies must be met by rainwater catchments
Central African RepublicCentral Africa tap water is not potable; poaching has diminished the country's reputation as one of the last great wildlife refuges; desertification; deforestation
ChadChad inadequate supplies of potable water; improper waste disposal in rural areas contributes to soil and water pollution; desertification
ChileChile widespread deforestation and mining threaten natural resources; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage
ChinaChina air pollution (greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide particulates) from reliance on coal produces acid rain; water shortages, particularly in the north; water pollution from untreated wastes; deforestation; estimated loss of one-fifth of agricultural land since 1949 to soil erosion and economic development; desertification; trade in endangered species
Christmas IslandXmas Island loss of rainforest; impact of phosphate mining
Clipperton IslandClipperton NA
Cocos (Keeling) IslandsCocos Islands fresh water resources are limited to rainwater accumulations in natural underground reservoirs
ColombiaColombia deforestation; soil and water quality damage from overuse of pesticides; air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions
ComorosComoros soil degradation and erosion results from crop cultivation on slopes without proper terracing; deforestation
Congo, Republic of theCongo, Republic of the air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from the dumping of raw sewage; tap water is not potable; deforestation
Cook IslandsCook Islands NA
Coral Sea IslandsCoral Sea no permanent fresh water resources
Costa RicaCosta Rica deforestation and land use change, largely a result of the clearing of land for cattle ranching and agriculture; soil erosion; coastal marine pollution; fisheries protection; solid waste management; air pollution
Cote d'IvoireCote d'Ivoire deforestation (most of the country's forests - once the largest in West Africa - have been heavily logged); water pollution from sewage and industrial and agricultural effluents
CroatiaCroatia air pollution (from metallurgical plants) and resulting acid rain is damaging the forests; coastal pollution from industrial and domestic waste; landmine removal and reconstruction of infrastructure consequent to 1992-95 civil strife
CubaCuba air and water pollution; biodiversity loss; deforestation
CyprusCyprus water resource problems (no natural reservoir catchments, seasonal disparity in rainfall, sea water intrusion to island's largest aquifer, increased salination in the north); water pollution from sewage and industrial wastes; coastal degradation; loss of wildlife habitats from urbanization
Czech RepublicCzech Republic air and water pollution in areas of northwest Bohemia and in northern Moravia around Ostrava present health risks; acid rain damaging forests; efforts to bring industry up to EU code should improve domestic pollution
Democratic Republic of the CongoCongo, DR. poaching threatens wildlife populations; water pollution; deforestation; refugees responsible for significant deforestation, soil erosion, and wildlife poaching; mining of minerals (coltan - a mineral used in creating capacitors, diamonds, and gold) causing environmental damage
DenmarkDenmark air pollution, principally from vehicle and power plant emissions; nitrogen and phosphorus pollution of the North Sea; drinking and surface water becoming polluted from animal wastes and pesticides
DhekeliaDhekelia netting and trapping of small migrant songbirds in the spring and autumn
DjiboutiDjibouti inadequate supplies of potable water; limited arable land; desertification; endangered species
DominicaDominica NA
Dominican RepublicDominican Rep. water shortages; soil eroding into the sea damages coral reefs; deforestation
East TimorEast Timor widespread use of slash and burn agriculture has led to deforestation and soil erosion
EcuadorEcuador deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution; pollution from oil production wastes in ecologically sensitive areas of the Amazon Basin and Galapagos Islands
EgyptEgypt agricultural land being lost to urbanization and windblown sands; increasing soil salination below Aswan High Dam; desertification; oil pollution threatening coral reefs, beaches, and marine habitats; other water pollution from agricultural pesticides, raw sewage, and industrial effluents; limited natural fresh water resources away from the Nile, which is the only perennial water source; rapid growth in population overstraining the Nile and natural resources
El SalvadorEl Salvador deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution; contamination of soils from disposal of toxic wastes
Equatorial GuineaEqu. Guinea tap water is not potable; deforestation
EritreaEritrea deforestation; desertification; soil erosion; overgrazing; loss of infrastructure from civil warfare
EstoniaEstonia air polluted with sulfur dioxide from oil-shale burning power plants in northeast; however, the amount of pollutants emitted to the air have fallen steadily, the emissions of 2000 were 80% less than in 1980; the amount of unpurified wastewater discharged to water bodies in 2000 was one-20th the level of 1980; in connection with the start-up of new water purification plants, the pollution load of wastewater decreased; Estonia has more than 1,400 natural and manmade lakes, the smaller of which in agricultural areas need to be monitored; coastal seawater is polluted in certain locations
EthiopiaEthiopia deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water shortages in some areas from water-intensive farming and poor management
European UnionEuropean Union NA
Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)Falklands overfishing by unlicensed vessels is a problem; reindeer were introduced to the islands in 2001 for commercial reasons; this is the only commercial reindeer herd in the world unaffected by the 1986 Chornobyl disaster
Faroe IslandsFaroe Islands NA
Federated States of MicronesiaMicronesia climate change, pollution
FijiFiji deforestation; soil erosion
FinlandFinland air pollution from manufacturing and power plants contributing to acid rain; water pollution from industrial wastes, agricultural chemicals; habitat loss threatens wildlife populations
FranceFrance some forest damage from acid rain; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from urban wastes, agricultural runoff
French PolynesiaFr. Polynesia NA
French Southern and Antarctic LandsFrench Antarctic+ introduction of foreign species on Iles Crozet has caused severe damage to the original ecosystem; overfishing of Patagonian toothfish around Iles Crozet and Iles Kerguelen
GabonGabon deforestation; poaching
Gaza StripGaza Strip desertification; salination of fresh water; sewage treatment; water-borne disease; soil degradation; depletion and contamination of underground water resources
GeorgiaGeorgia air pollution, particularly in Rust'avi; heavy pollution of Mtkvari River and the Black Sea; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil pollution from toxic chemicals
GermanyGermany emissions from coal-burning utilities and industries contribute to air pollution; acid rain, resulting from sulfur dioxide emissions, is damaging forests; pollution in the Baltic Sea from raw sewage and industrial effluents from rivers in eastern Germany; hazardous waste disposal; government established a mechanism for ending the use of nuclear power over the next 15 years; government working to meet EU commitment to identify nature preservation areas in line with the EU's Flora, Fauna, and Habitat directive
GhanaGhana recurrent drought in north severely affects agricultural activities; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; poaching and habitat destruction threatens wildlife populations; water pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water
GibraltarGibraltar limited natural freshwater resources: large concrete or natural rock water catchments collect rainwater (no longer used for drinking water) and adequate desalination plant
GreeceGreece air pollution; water pollution
GreenlandGreenland protection of the arctic environment; preservation of the Inuit traditional way of life, including whaling and seal hunting
GrenadaGrenada NA
GuamGuam extirpation of native bird population by the rapid proliferation of the brown tree snake, an exotic, invasive species
GuatemalaGuatemala deforestation in the Peten rainforest; soil erosion; water pollution
GuernseyGuernsey NA
GuineaGuinea deforestation; inadequate supplies of potable water; desertification; soil contamination and erosion; overfishing, overpopulation in forest region; poor mining practices have led to environmental damage
Guinea-BissauGuinea-Bissau deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; overfishing
GuyanaGuyana water pollution from sewage and agricultural and industrial chemicals; deforestation
HaitiHaiti extensive deforestation (much of the remaining forested land is being cleared for agriculture and used as fuel); soil erosion; inadequate supplies of potable water
Heard Island and McDonald IslandsHeard Isl+ NA
Holy See (Vatican City)Vatican City NA
HondurasHonduras urban population expanding; deforestation results from logging and the clearing of land for agricultural purposes; further land degradation and soil erosion hastened by uncontrolled development and improper land use practices such as farming of marginal lands; mining activities polluting Lago de Yojoa (the country's largest source of fresh water), as well as several rivers and streams, with heavy metals
Hong KongHong Kong air and water pollution from rapid urbanization
Howland IslandHowland Island no natural fresh water resources
HungaryHungary the upgrading of Hungary's standards in waste management, energy efficiency, and air, soil, and water pollution to meet EU requirements will require large investments
IcelandIceland water pollution from fertilizer runoff; inadequate wastewater treatment
IndiaIndia deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; desertification; air pollution from industrial effluents and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage and runoff of agricultural pesticides; tap water is not potable throughout the country; huge and growing population is overstraining natural resources
Indian OceanIndian Ocean endangered marine species include the dugong, seals, turtles, and whales; oil pollution in the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, and Red Sea
IndonesiaIndonesia deforestation; water pollution from industrial wastes, sewage; air pollution in urban areas; smoke and haze from forest fires
IranIran air pollution, especially in urban areas, from vehicle emissions, refinery operations, and industrial effluents; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; oil pollution in the Persian Gulf; wetland losses from drought; soil degradation (salination); inadequate supplies of potable water; water pollution from raw sewage and industrial waste; urbanization
IraqIraq government water control projects have drained most of the inhabited marsh areas east of An Nasiriyah by drying up or diverting the feeder streams and rivers; a once sizable population of Marsh Arabs, who inhabited these areas for thousands of years, has been displaced; furthermore, the destruction of the natural habitat poses serious threats to the area's wildlife populations; inadequate supplies of potable water; development of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers system contingent upon agreements with upstream riparian Turkey; air and water pollution; soil degradation (salination) and erosion; desertification
IrelandIreland water pollution, especially of lakes, from agricultural runoff
IsraelIsrael limited arable land and natural fresh water resources pose serious constraints; desertification; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; groundwater pollution from industrial and domestic waste, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides
ItalyItaly air pollution from industrial emissions such as sulfur dioxide; coastal and inland rivers polluted from industrial and agricultural effluents; acid rain damaging lakes; inadequate industrial waste treatment and disposal facilities
JamaicaJamaica heavy rates of deforestation; coastal waters polluted by industrial waste, sewage, and oil spills; damage to coral reefs; air pollution in Kingston results from vehicle emissions
Jan MayenJan Mayen NA
JapanJapan air pollution from power plant emissions results in acid rain; acidification of lakes and reservoirs degrading water quality and threatening aquatic life; Japan is one of the largest consumers of fish and tropical timber, contributing to the depletion of these resources in Asia and elsewhere
Jarvis IslandJarvis Island no natural fresh water resources
JerseyJersey NA
Johnston AtollJohnston Atoll no natural fresh water resources
JordanJordan limited natural fresh water resources; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
KazakhstanKazakhstan radioactive or toxic chemical sites associated with former defense industries and test ranges scattered throughout the country pose health risks for humans and animals; industrial pollution is severe in some cities; because the two main rivers that flowed into the Aral Sea have been diverted for irrigation, it is drying up and leaving behind a harmful layer of chemical pesticides and natural salts; these substances are then picked up by the wind and blown into noxious dust storms; pollution in the Caspian Sea; soil pollution from overuse of agricultural chemicals and salination from poor infrastructure and wasteful irrigation practices
KenyaKenya water pollution from urban and industrial wastes; degradation of water quality from increased use of pesticides and fertilizers; water hyacinth infestation in Lake Victoria; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; poaching
Kingman ReefKingman Reef none
KiribatiKiribati heavy pollution in lagoon of south Tarawa atoll due to heavy migration mixed with traditional practices such as lagoon latrines and open-pit dumping; ground water at risk
KuwaitKuwait limited natural fresh water resources; some of world's largest and most sophisticated desalination facilities provide much of the water; air and water pollution; desertification
KyrgyzstanKyrgyzstan water pollution; many people get their water directly from contaminated streams and wells; as a result, water-borne diseases are prevalent; increasing soil salinity from faulty irrigation practices
LaosLaos unexploded ordnance; deforestation; soil erosion; most of the population does not have access to potable water
LatviaLatvia Latvia's environment has benefited from a shift to service industries after the country regained independence; the main environmental priorities are improvement of drinking water quality and sewage system, household, and hazardous waste management, as well as reduction of air pollution; in 2001, Latvia closed the EU accession negotiation chapter on environment committing to full enforcement of EU environmental directives by 2010
LebanonLebanon deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; air pollution in Beirut from vehicular traffic and the burning of industrial wastes; pollution of coastal waters from raw sewage and oil spills
LesothoLesotho population pressure forcing settlement in marginal areas results in overgrazing, severe soil erosion, and soil exhaustion; desertification; Highlands Water Project controls, stores, and redirects water to South Africa
LiberiaLiberia tropical rain forest deforestation; soil erosion; loss of biodiversity; pollution of coastal waters from oil residue and raw sewage
LibyaLibya desertification; limited natural fresh water resources; the Great Manmade River Project, the largest water development scheme in the world, is being built to bring water from large aquifers under the Sahara to coastal cities
LiechtensteinLiechtenstein NA
LithuaniaLithuania contamination of soil and groundwater with petroleum products and chemicals at military bases
LuxembourgLuxembourg air and water pollution in urban areas, soil pollution of farmland
MacauMacau NA
MadagascarMadagascar soil erosion results from deforestation and overgrazing; desertification; surface water contaminated with raw sewage and other organic wastes; several endangered species of flora and fauna unique to the island
MalawiMalawi deforestation; land degradation; water pollution from agricultural runoff, sewage, industrial wastes; siltation of spawning grounds endangers fish populations
MalaysiaMalaysia air pollution from industrial and vehicular emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; deforestation; smoke/haze from Indonesian forest fires
MaldivesMaldives depletion of freshwater aquifers threatens water supplies; global warming and sea level rise; coral reef bleaching
MaliMali deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; inadequate supplies of potable water; poaching
MaltaMalta limited natural fresh water resources; increasing reliance on desalination
Marshall IslandsMarshall Isl. inadequate supplies of potable water; pollution of Majuro lagoon from household waste and discharges from fishing vessels
MauritaniaMauritania deforestation, and soil erosion aggravated by drought are contributing to desertification; limited natural fresh water resources away from the Senegal, which is the only perennial river; locust infestation
MauritiusMauritius water pollution, degradation of coral reefs
MayotteMayotte NA
MexicoMexico scarcity of hazardous waste disposal facilities; rural to urban migration; natural fresh water resources scarce and polluted in north, inaccessible and poor quality in center and extreme southeast; raw sewage and industrial effluents polluting rivers in urban areas; deforestation; widespread erosion; desertification; deteriorating agricultural lands; serious air and water pollution in the national capital and urban centers along US-Mexico border; land subsidence in Valley of Mexico caused by groundwater depletion
MoldovaMoldova heavy use of agricultural chemicals, including banned pesticides such as DDT, has contaminated soil and groundwater; extensive soil erosion from poor farming methods
MonacoMonaco NA
MongoliaMongolia limited natural fresh water resources in some areas; the policies of former Communist regimes promoted rapid urbanization and industrial growth that had negative effects on the environment; the burning of soft coal in power plants and the lack of enforcement of environmental laws severely polluted the air in Ulaanbaatar; deforestation, overgrazing, and the converting of virgin land to agricultural production increased soil erosion from wind and rain; desertification and mining activities had a deleterious effect on the environment
MontserratMontserrat land erosion occurs on slopes that have been cleared for cultivation
MoroccoMorocco land degradation/desertification (soil erosion resulting from farming of marginal areas, overgrazing, destruction of vegetation); water supplies contaminated by raw sewage; siltation of reservoirs; oil pollution of coastal waters
MozambiqueMozambique a long civil war and recurrent drought in the hinterlands have resulted in increased migration of the population to urban and coastal areas with adverse environmental consequences; desertification; pollution of surface and coastal waters; elephant poaching for ivory is a problem
NamibiaNamibia limited natural fresh water resources; desertification; wildlife poaching; land degradation has led to few conservation areas
NauruNauru limited natural fresh water resources, roof storage tanks collect rainwater but mostly dependent on a single, aging desalination plant; intensive phosphate mining during the past 90 years - mainly by a UK, Australia, and NZ consortium - has left the central 90% of Nauru a wasteland and threatens limited remaining land resources
Navassa IslandNavassa Island NA
NepalNepal deforestation (overuse of wood for fuel and lack of alternatives); contaminated water (with human and animal wastes, agricultural runoff, and industrial effluents); wildlife conservation; vehicular emissions
NetherlandsNetherlands water pollution in the form of heavy metals, organic compounds, and nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates; air pollution from vehicles and refining activities; acid rain
New CaledoniaNew Caledonia erosion caused by mining exploitation and forest fires
New ZealandNew Zealand deforestation; soil erosion; native flora and fauna hard-hit by invasive species
NicaraguaNicaragua deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution
NigerNiger overgrazing; soil erosion; deforestation; desertification; wildlife populations (such as elephant, hippopotamus, giraffe, and lion) threatened because of poaching and habitat destruction
NigeriaNigeria soil degradation; rapid deforestation; urban air and water pollution; desertification; oil pollution - water, air, and soil; has suffered serious damage from oil spills; loss of arable land; rapid urbanization
NiueNiue increasing attention to conservationist practices to counter loss of soil fertility from traditional slash and burn agriculture
Norfolk IslandNorfolk Island NA
North KoreaNorth Korea water pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water; waterborne disease; deforestation; soil erosion and degradation
Northern Mariana IslandsN. Mariana contamination of groundwater on Saipan may contribute to disease; clean-up of landfill; protection of endangered species conflicts with development
NorwayNorway water pollution; acid rain damaging forests and adversely affecting lakes, threatening fish stocks; air pollution from vehicle emissions
OmanOman rising soil salinity; beach pollution from oil spills; limited natural fresh water resources
Pacific OceanPacific Ocean endangered marine species include the dugong, sea lion, sea otter, seals, turtles, and whales; oil pollution in Philippine Sea and South China Sea
PakistanPakistan water pollution from raw sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural runoff; limited natural fresh water resources; most of the population does not have access to potable water; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification
PalauPalau inadequate facilities for disposal of solid waste; threats to the marine ecosystem from sand and coral dredging, illegal fishing practices, and overfishing
PanamaPanama water pollution from agricultural runoff threatens fishery resources; deforestation of tropical rain forest; land degradation and soil erosion threatens siltation of Panama Canal; air pollution in urban areas; mining threatens natural resources
Papua New GuineaPapua NG rain forest subject to deforestation as a result of growing commercial demand for tropical timber; pollution from mining projects; severe drought
ParaguayParaguay deforestation; water pollution; inadequate means for waste disposal pose health risks for many urban residents; loss of wetlands
PeruPeru deforestation (some the result of illegal logging); overgrazing of the slopes of the costa and sierra leading to soil erosion; desertification; air pollution in Lima; pollution of rivers and coastal waters from municipal and mining wastes
PhilippinesPhilippines uncontrolled deforestation especially in watershed areas; soil erosion; air and water pollution in major urban centers; coral reef degradation; increasing pollution of coastal mangrove swamps that are important fish breeding grounds
Pitcairn IslandsPitcarn deforestation (only a small portion of the original forest remains because of burning and clearing for settlement)
PolandPoland situation has improved since 1989 due to decline in heavy industry and increased environmental concern by post-Communist governments; air pollution nonetheless remains serious because of sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, and the resulting acid rain has caused forest damage; water pollution from industrial and municipal sources is also a problem, as is disposal of hazardous wastes; pollution levels should continue to decrease as industrial establishments bring their facilities up to EU code, but at substantial cost to business and the government
PortugalPortugal soil erosion; air pollution caused by industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution, especially in coastal areas
Puerto RicoPuerto Rico erosion; occasional drought causing water shortages
QatarQatar limited natural fresh water resources are increasing dependence on large-scale desalination facilities
RomaniaRomania soil erosion and degradation; water pollution; air pollution in south from industrial effluents; contamination of Danube delta wetlands
RussiaRussia air pollution from heavy industry, emissions of coal-fired electric plants, and transportation in major cities; industrial, municipal, and agricultural pollution of inland waterways and seacoasts; deforestation; soil erosion; soil contamination from improper application of agricultural chemicals; scattered areas of sometimes intense radioactive contamination; groundwater contamination from toxic waste; urban solid waste management; abandoned stocks of obsolete pesticides
RwandaRwanda deforestation results from uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel; overgrazing; soil exhaustion; soil erosion; widespread poaching
Saint BarthelemySt Barthelemy with no natural rivers or streams, fresh water is in short supply, especially in summer, and provided by desalinization of sea water, collection of rain water, or imported via water tanker
Saint Kitts and NevisSt Kitts+ NA
Saint LuciaSaint Lucia deforestation; soil erosion, particularly in the northern region
Saint MartinSaint Martin fresh water supply is dependent on desalinization of sea water
Saint Pierre and MiquelonSt Pierre+ recent test drilling for oil in waters around Saint Pierre and Miquelon may bring future development that would impact the environment
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesSt Vincent+ pollution of coastal waters and shorelines from discharges by pleasure yachts and other effluents; in some areas, pollution is severe enough to make swimming prohibitive
SamoaSamoa soil erosion, deforestation, invasive species, overfishing
San MarinoSan Marino NA
Sao Tome and PrincipeSoa Tome+ deforestation; soil erosion and exhaustion
Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia desertification; depletion of underground water resources; the lack of perennial rivers or permanent water bodies has prompted the development of extensive seawater desalination facilities; coastal pollution from oil spills
SenegalSenegal wildlife populations threatened by poaching; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; overfishing
Serbia and MontenegroSerbia+ air pollution around Belgrade and other industrial cities; water pollution from industrial wastes dumped into the Sava which flows into the Danube
SeychellesSeychelles water supply depends on catchments to collect rainwater
Sierra LeoneSierra Leone rapid population growth pressuring the environment; overharvesting of timber, expansion of cattle grazing, and slash-and-burn agriculture have resulted in deforestation and soil exhaustion; civil war depleted natural resources; overfishing
SingaporeSingapore industrial pollution; limited natural fresh water resources; limited land availability presents waste disposal problems; seasonal smoke/haze resulting from forest fires in Indonesia
SlovakiaSlovakia air pollution from metallurgical plants presents human health risks; acid rain damaging forests
SloveniaSlovenia Sava River polluted with domestic and industrial waste; pollution of coastal waters with heavy metals and toxic chemicals; forest damage near Koper from air pollution (originating at metallurgical and chemical plants) and resulting acid rain
Solomon IslandsSolomon Islands deforestation; soil erosion; many of the surrounding coral reefs are dead or dying
SomaliaSomalia famine; use of contaminated water contributes to human health problems; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
South AfricaSouth Africa lack of important arterial rivers or lakes requires extensive water conservation and control measures; growth in water usage outpacing supply; pollution of rivers from agricultural runoff and urban discharge; air pollution resulting in acid rain; soil erosion; desertification
South KoreaSouth Korea air pollution in large cities; acid rain; water pollution from the discharge of sewage and industrial effluents; drift net fishing
Southern OceanSouthern Ocean increased solar ultraviolet radiation resulting from the Antarctic ozone hole in recent years, reducing marine primary productivity (phytoplankton) by as much as 15% and damaging the DNA of some fish; illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in recent years, especially the landing of an estimated five to six times more Patagonian toothfish than the regulated fishery, which is likely to affect the sustainability of the stock; large amount of incidental mortality of seabirds resulting from long-line fishing for toothfish; note: the now-protected fur seal population is making a strong comeback after severe overexploitation in the 18th and 19th centuries
SpainSpain pollution of the Mediterranean Sea from raw sewage and effluents from the offshore production of oil and gas; water quality and quantity nationwide; air pollution; deforestation; desertification
Sri LankaSri Lanka deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by poaching and urbanization; coastal degradation from mining activities and increased pollution; freshwater resources being polluted by industrial wastes and sewage runoff; waste disposal; air pollution in Colombo
SudanSudan inadequate supplies of potable water; wildlife populations threatened by excessive hunting; soil erosion; desertification; periodic drought
SurinameSuriname deforestation as timber is cut for export; pollution of inland waterways by small-scale mining activities
SvalbardSvalbard NA
SwazilandSwaziland limited supplies of potable water; wildlife populations being depleted because of excessive hunting; overgrazing; soil degradation; soil erosion
SwedenSweden acid rain damage to soils and lakes; pollution of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea
SwitzerlandSwitzerland air pollution from vehicle emissions and open-air burning; acid rain; water pollution from increased use of agricultural fertilizers; loss of biodiversity
SyriaSyria deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution from raw sewage and petroleum refining wastes; inadequate potable water
TaiwanTaiwan air pollution; water pollution from industrial emissions, raw sewage; contamination of drinking water supplies; trade in endangered species; low-level radioactive waste disposal
TajikistanTajikistan inadequate sanitation facilities; increasing levels of soil salinity; industrial pollution; excessive pesticides
TanzaniaTanzania soil degradation; deforestation; desertification; destruction of coral reefs threatens marine habitats; recent droughts affected marginal agriculture; wildlife threatened by illegal hunting and trade, especially for ivory
ThailandThailand air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting
The BahamasThe Bahamas coral reef decay; solid waste disposal
The GambiaThe Gambia deforestation; desertification; water-borne diseases prevalent
TogoTogo deforestation attributable to slash-and-burn agriculture and the use of wood for fuel; water pollution presents health hazards and hinders the fishing industry; air pollution increasing in urban areas
TokelauTokelau limited natural resources and overcrowding are contributing to emigration to New Zealand
TongaTonga deforestation results as more and more land is being cleared for agriculture and settlement; some damage to coral reefs from starfish and indiscriminate coral and shell collectors; overhunting threatens native sea turtle populations
Trinidad and TobagoTrinidad+ water pollution from agricultural chemicals, industrial wastes, and raw sewage; oil pollution of beaches; deforestation; soil erosion
TunisiaTunisia toxic and hazardous waste disposal is ineffective and poses health risks; water pollution from raw sewage; limited natural fresh water resources; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
TurkeyTurkey water pollution from dumping of chemicals and detergents; air pollution, particularly in urban areas; deforestation; concern for oil spills from increasing Bosporus ship traffic
TurkmenistanTurkmenistan contamination of soil and groundwater with agricultural chemicals, pesticides; salination, water logging of soil due to poor irrigation methods; Caspian Sea pollution; diversion of a large share of the flow of the Amu Darya into irrigation contributes to that river's inability to replenish the Aral Sea; desertification
Turks and Caicos IslandsTurks+ limited natural fresh water resources, private cisterns collect rainwater
TuvaluTuvalu since there are no streams or rivers and groundwater is not potable, most water needs must be met by catchment systems with storage facilities (the Japanese Government has built one desalination plant and plans to build one other); beachhead erosion because of the use of sand for building materials; excessive clearance of forest undergrowth for use as fuel; damage to coral reefs from the spread of the Crown of Thorns starfish; Tuvalu is concerned about global increases in greenhouse gas emissions and their effect on rising sea levels, which threaten the country's underground water table; in 2000, the government appealed to Australia and New Zealand to take in Tuvaluans if rising sea levels should make evacuation necessary
UgandaUganda draining of wetlands for agricultural use; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; water hyacinth infestation in Lake Victoria; widespread poaching
UkraineUkraine inadequate supplies of potable water; air and water pollution; deforestation; radiation contamination in the northeast from 1986 accident at Chornobyl' Nuclear Power Plant
United Arab EmiratesUAE lack of natural freshwater resources compensated by desalination plants; desertification; beach pollution from oil spills
United KingdomUnited Kingdom continues to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (has met Kyoto Protocol target of a 12.5% reduction from 1990 levels and intends to meet the legally binding target and move toward a domestic goal of a 20% cut in emissions by 2010); by 2005 the government reduced the amount of industrial and commercial waste disposed of in landfill sites to 85% of 1998 levels and recycled or composted at least 25% of household waste, increasing to 33% by 2015
United StatesUnited States air pollution resulting in acid rain in both the US and Canada; the US is the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water pollution from runoff of pesticides and fertilizers; limited natural fresh water resources in much of the western part of the country require careful management; desertification
UruguayUruguay water pollution from meat packing/tannery industry; inadequate solid/hazardous waste disposal
UzbekistanUzbekistan shrinkage of the Aral Sea is resulting in growing concentrations of chemical pesticides and natural salts; these substances are then blown from the increasingly exposed lake bed and contribute to desertification; water pollution from industrial wastes and the heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides is the cause of many human health disorders; increasing soil salination; soil contamination from buried nuclear processing and agricultural chemicals, including DDT
VanuatuVanuatu most of the population does not have access to a reliable supply of potable water; deforestation
VenezuelaVenezuela sewage pollution of Lago de Valencia; oil and urban pollution of Lago de Maracaibo; deforestation; soil degradation; urban and industrial pollution, especially along the Caribbean coast; threat to the rainforest ecosystem from irresponsible mining operations
VietnamVietnam logging and slash-and-burn agricultural practices contribute to deforestation and soil degradation; water pollution and overfishing threaten marine life populations; groundwater contamination limits potable water supply; growing urban industrialization and population migration are rapidly degrading environment in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City
Virgin IslandsVirgin Islands lack of natural freshwater resources
Wake IslandWake Island NA
Wallis and FutunaWallis+ deforestation (only small portions of the original forests remain) largely as a result of the continued use of wood as the main fuel source; as a consequence of cutting down the forests, the mountainous terrain of Futuna is particularly prone to erosion; there are no permanent settlements on Alofi because of the lack of natural fresh water resources
West BankWest Bank adequacy of fresh water supply; sewage treatment
Western SaharaWestern Sahara sparse water and lack of arable land
YemenYemen limited natural fresh water resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
ZambiaZambia air pollution and resulting acid rain in the mineral extraction and refining region; chemical runoff into watersheds; poaching seriously threatens rhinoceros, elephant, antelope, and large cat populations; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; lack of adequate water treatment presents human health risks
ZimbabweZimbabwe deforestation; soil erosion; land degradation; air and water pollution; the black rhinoceros herd - once the largest concentration of the species in the world - has been significantly reduced by poaching; poor mining practices have led to toxic waste and heavy metal pollution

Citation

"All countries compared for Environment > Current issues", CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 28 March 2011. Aggregates compiled by NationMaster. Retrieved from http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Environment/Current-issues

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