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Environment - current issues

This page shows the value of the Environment - current issues information field for all countries in the Country Guide.

Notes on this field are available at the Information Field Notes page.

Afghanistan

soil degradation; overgrazing; deforestation (much of the remaining forests are being cut down for fuel and building materials); desertification

Albania

deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents

Algeria

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 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

Andorra

deforestation; overgrazing of mountain meadows contributes to soil erosion; air pollution; waste water treatment and solid waste disposal

Angola

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

Anguilla

supplies of potable water sometimes cannot meet increasing demand largely because of poor distribution system

Antarctica

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 coming 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

Antigua and Barbuda

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 Ocean

endangered marine species include walruses and whales; fragile ecosystem slow to change and slow to recover from disruptions or damage; thinning polar icepack

Argentina

environmental problems (urban and rural) typical of an industrializing economy such as soil degradation, desertification, air pollution, and water pollution (Note: Argentina is a world leader in setting voluntary greenhouse gas targets)

Armenia

soil pollution from toxic chemicals such as DDT; energy blockade, the result of conflict with Azerbaijan, has 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 without adequate (IAEA-recommended) safety and backup systems

Aruba

NA

Ashmore and Cartier Islands

NA

Atlantic 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

Australia

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

Austria

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

Azerbaijan

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, water, and soil pollution; soil pollution results from the use of DDT as a pesticide and also from toxic defoliants used in the production of cotton

Bahamas, The

coral reef decay; solid waste disposal

Bahrain

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; no natural fresh water resources so that groundwater and sea water are the only sources for all water needs

Baker Island

no natural fresh water resources

Bangladesh

many people are landless and forced to live on and cultivate flood-prone land; limited access to potable water; water-borne diseases prevalent; water pollution especially of fishing areas results from the use of commercial pesticides; intermittent water shortages because of falling water tables in the northern and central parts of the country; soil degradation; deforestation; severe overpopulation

Barbados

pollution of coastal waters from waste disposal by ships; soil erosion; illegal solid waste disposal threatens contamination of aquifers

Bassas da India

NA

Belarus

soil pollution from pesticide use; southern part of the country contaminated with fallout from 1986 nuclear reactor accident at Chornobyl' in northern Ukraine

Belgium

the environment is exposed to intense pressures from human activities: urbanization, dense transportation network, industry, intense animal breeding and crop cultivation; air and water pollution also have repercussions for neighboring countries; uncertainties regarding federal and regional responsibilities (now resolved) have impeded progress in tackling environmental challenges

Belize

deforestation; water pollution from sewage, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff; solid waste disposal

Benin

recent droughts have severely affected marginal agriculture in north; inadequate supplies of potable water; poaching threatens wildlife populations; deforestation; desertification

Bermuda

asbestos disposal; water pollution; preservation of open space

Bhutan

soil erosion; limited access to potable water

Bolivia

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 Herzegovina

air pollution from metallurgical plants; sites for disposing of urban waste are limited; widespread casualties, water shortages, and destruction of infrastructure because of the 1992-95 civil strife

Botswana

overgrazing; desertification; limited fresh water resources

Bouvet Island

NA

Brazil

deforestation in Amazon Basin destroys the habitat and endangers the existence of a multitude of plant and animal species indigenous to the area; 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 (Note: President CARDOSO in September 1999 signed into force an environmental crime bill which for the first time defines pollution and deforestation as crimes punishable by stiff fines and jail sentences)

British Indian Ocean Territory

NA

British Virgin Islands

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 catchment)

Brunei

seasonal smoke/haze resulting from forest fires in Indonesia

Bulgaria

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 Faso

recent droughts and desertification severely affecting agricultural activities, population distribution, and the economy; overgrazing; soil degradation; deforestation

Burundi

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

Cambodia

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, a majority of the population does not have access to potable water; toxic waste delivery from Taiwan sparked unrest in Kampong Saom (Sihanoukville) in December 1998

Cameroon

water-borne diseases are prevalent; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; poaching; overfishing

Canada

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 Verde

overgrazing of livestock and improper land use such as the cultivation of crops on steep slopes has led to soil erosion; demand for wood used as fuel has resulted in deforestation; desertification; environmental damage has threatened several species of birds and reptiles; overfishing

Cayman Islands

no natural fresh water resources; drinking water supplies must be met by rainwater catchment

Central African Republic

tap water is not potable; poaching has diminished its reputation as one of the last great wildlife refuges; desertification; deforestation

Chad

inadequate supplies of potable water; improper waste disposal in rural areas contributes to soil and water pollution; desertification

Chile

air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage

China

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 Island

NA

Clipperton Island

NA

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

fresh water resources are limited to rainwater accumulations in natural underground reservoirs

Colombia

deforestation; soil damage from overuse of pesticides; air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions

Comoros

soil degradation and erosion results from crop cultivation on slopes without proper terracing; deforestation

Congo, Democratic Republic of the

poaching threatens wildlife populations; water pollution; deforestation; refugees who arrived in mid-1994 were responsible for significant deforestation, soil erosion, and wildlife poaching in the eastern part of the country (most of those refugees were repatriated in November and December 1996)

Congo, Republic of the

air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from the dumping of raw sewage; tap water is not potable; deforestation

Cook Islands

NA

Coral Sea Islands

no permanent fresh water resources

Costa Rica

deforestation, largely a result of the clearing of land for cattle ranching; soil erosion; water pollution (rivers); fisheries protection; solid waste management

Cote d'Ivoire

deforestation (most of the country's forests - once the largest in West Africa - have been cleared by the timber industry); water pollution from sewage and industrial and agricultural effluents

Croatia

air pollution (from metallurgical plants) and resulting acid rain is damaging the forests; coastal pollution from industrial and domestic waste; widespread casualties and destruction of infrastructure in border areas affected by civil strife

Cuba

pollution of Havana Bay; overhunting threatens wildlife populations; deforestation

Cyprus

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 Republic

air and water pollution in areas of northwest Bohemia and in northern Moravia around Ostrava present health risks; acid rain damaging forests

Denmark

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

Djibouti

inadequate supplies of potable water; desertification

Dominica

NA

Dominican Republic

water shortages; soil eroding into the sea damages coral reefs; deforestation; Hurricane Georges damage

Ecuador

deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution; pollution from oil production wastes

Egypt

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; very limited natural fresh water resources away from the Nile which is the only perennial water source; rapid growth in population overstraining natural resources

El Salvador

deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution; contamination of soils from disposal of toxic wastes; Hurricane Mitch damage

Equatorial Guinea

tap water is not potable; desertification

Eritrea

deforestation; desertification; soil erosion; overgrazing; loss of infrastructure from civil warfare

Estonia

air heavily polluted with sulfur dioxide from oil-shale burning power plants in northeast; contamination of soil and groundwater with petroleum products, chemicals at former Soviet military bases; Estonia has more than 1,400 natural and manmade lakes, the smaller of which in agricultural areas are heavily affected by organic waste; coastal sea water is polluted in many locations

Ethiopia

deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

Europa Island

NA

Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

NA

Faroe Islands

NA

Fiji

deforestation; soil erosion

Finland

air pollution from manufacturing and power plants contributing to acid rain; water pollution from industrial wastes, agricultural chemicals; habitat loss threatens wildlife populations

France

some forest damage from acid rain (major forest damage occurred as a result of severe December 1999 windstorm); air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from urban wastes, agricultural runoff

French Guiana

NA

French Polynesia

NA

French Southern and Antarctic Lands

NA

Gabon

deforestation; poaching

Gambia, The

deforestation; desertification; water-borne diseases prevalent

Gaza Strip

desertification; salination of fresh water; sewage treatment

Georgia

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

Germany

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 currently attempting to define mechanism for ending the use of nuclear power; government working to meet EU commitment to identify nature preservation areas in line with the EU's Flora, Fauna, and Habitat directive

Ghana

recent drought in north severely affecting agricultural activities; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; poaching and habitat destruction threatens wildlife populations; water pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water

Gibraltar

limited natural freshwater resources; large concrete or natural rock water catchments collect rain water

Glorioso Islands

NA

Greece

air pollution; water pollution

Greenland

protection of the arctic environment; preservation of the Inuit traditional way of life, including whaling; note - Greenland participates actively in Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC)

Grenada

NA

Guadeloupe

NA

Guam

extirpation of native bird population by the rapid proliferation of the brown tree snake, an exotic species

Guatemala

deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution; Hurricane Mitch damage

Guernsey

NA

Guinea

deforestation; inadequate supplies of potable water; desertification; soil contamination and erosion; overfishing, overpopulation in forest region

Guinea-Bissau

deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; overfishing

Guyana

water pollution from sewage and agricultural and industrial chemicals; deforestation

Haiti

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 Islands

NA

Holy See (Vatican City)

NA

Honduras

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; severe Hurricane Mitch damage

Hong Kong

air and water pollution from rapid urbanization

Howland Island

no natural fresh water resources

Hungary

the approximation of Hungary's standards in waste management, energy efficiency, and air, soil, and water pollution with environmental requirements for EU accession will require large investments

Iceland

water pollution from fertilizer runoff; inadequate wastewater treatment

India

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 Ocean

endangered marine species include the dugong, seals, turtles, and whales; oil pollution in the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, and Red Sea

Indonesia

deforestation; water pollution from industrial wastes, sewage; air pollution in urban areas; smoke and haze from forest fires

Iran

air pollution, especially in urban areas, from vehicle emissions, refinery operations, and industrial effluents; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; oil pollution in the Persian Gulf; inadequate supplies of potable water

Iraq

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 Shi'a Muslims, who have 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 Tigris-Euphrates Rivers system contingent upon agreements with upstream riparian Turkey; air and water pollution; soil degradation (salination) and erosion; desertification

Ireland

water pollution, especially of lakes, from agricultural runoff

Israel

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

Italy

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

Jamaica

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 Mayen

NA

Japan

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 Island

no natural fresh water resources

Jersey

NA

Johnston Atoll

no natural fresh water resources

Jordan

limited natural fresh water resources; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

Juan de Nova Island

NA

Kazakhstan

radioactive or toxic chemical sites associated with its former defense industries and test ranges are found throughout the country and pose health risks for humans and animals; industrial pollution is severe in some cities; because the two main rivers which 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

Kenya

water pollution from urban and industrial wastes; degradation of water quality from increased use of pesticides and fertilizers; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; poaching

Kingman Reef

none

Kiribati

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

Korea, North

localized air pollution attributable to inadequate industrial controls; water pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water

Korea, South

air pollution in large cities; water pollution from the discharge of sewage and industrial effluents; drift net fishing

Kuwait

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

Kyrgyzstan

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

Laos

unexploded ordnance; deforestation; soil erosion; a majority of the population does not have access to potable water

Latvia

air and water pollution because of a lack of waste conversion equipment; Gulf of Riga and Daugava River heavily polluted; contamination of soil and groundwater with chemicals and petroleum products at military bases

Lebanon

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

Lesotho

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

Liberia

tropical rain forest subject to deforestation; soil erosion; loss of biodiversity; pollution of coastal waters from oil residue and raw sewage

Libya

desertification; very 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

Liechtenstein

NA

Lithuania

contamination of soil and groundwater with petroleum products and chemicals at military bases

Luxembourg

air and water pollution in urban areas

Macau

NA

Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of

air pollution from metallurgical plants

Madagascar

soil erosion results from deforestation and overgrazing; desertification; surface water contaminated with raw sewage and other organic wastes; several species of flora and fauna unique to the island are endangered

Malawi

deforestation; land degradation; water pollution from agricultural runoff, sewage, industrial wastes; siltation of spawning grounds endangers fish populations

Malaysia

air pollution from industrial and vehicular emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; deforestation; smoke/haze from Indonesian forest fires

Maldives

depletion of freshwater aquifers threatens water supplies; global warming and sea level rise; coral reef bleaching

Mali

deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; inadequate supplies of potable water; poaching

Malta

very limited natural fresh water resources; increasing reliance on desalination

Man, Isle of

waste disposal (both household and industrial); transboundary air pollution

Marshall Islands

inadequate supplies of potable water

Martinique

NA

Mauritania

overgrazing, deforestation, and soil erosion aggravated by drought are contributing to desertification; very limited natural fresh water resources away from the Senegal which is the only perennial river

Mauritius

water pollution

Mayotte

NA

Mexico

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; serious air pollution in the national capital and urban centers along US-Mexico border

Micronesia, Federated States of

overfishing

Midway Islands

NA

Moldova

heavy use of agricultural chemicals, including banned pesticides such as DDT, has contaminated soil and groundwater; extensive soil erosion from poor farming methods

Monaco

NA

Mongolia

limited natural fresh water resources; policies of the former communist regime promoting rapid urbanization and industrial growth have raised concerns about their negative effects on the environment; the burning of soft coal in power plants and the lack of enforcement of environmental laws have severely polluted the air in Ulaanbaatar; deforestation, overgrazing, the converting of virgin land to agricultural production have increased soil erosion from wind and rain; desertification and mining activities have also had a deleterious effect on the environment

Montserrat

land erosion occurs on slopes that have been cleared for cultivation

Morocco

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

Mozambique

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

Myanmar

deforestation; industrial pollution of air, soil, and water; inadequate sanitation and water treatment contribute to disease

Namibia

very limited natural fresh water resources; desertification

Nauru

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 New Zealand consortium - has left the central 90% of Nauru a wasteland and threatens limited remaining land resources

Navassa Island

NA

Nepal

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

Netherlands

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

Netherlands Antilles

NA

New Caledonia

erosion caused by mining exploitation and forest fires

New Zealand

deforestation; soil erosion; native flora and fauna hard-hit by species introduced from outside

Nicaragua

deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution; Hurricane Mitch damage

Niger

overgrazing; soil erosion; deforestation; desertification; wildlife populations (such as elephant, hippopotamus, giraffe, and lion) threatened because of poaching and habitat destruction

Nigeria

soil degradation; rapid deforestation; desertification; recent droughts in north severely affecting marginal agricultural activities

Niue

increasing attention to conservationist practices to counter loss of soil fertility from traditional slash and burn agriculture

Norfolk Island

NA

Northern Mariana Islands

contamination of groundwater on Saipan may contribute to disease; clean-up of landfill; protection of endangered species conflicts with development

Norway

water pollution; acid rain damaging forests and adversely affecting lakes, threatening fish stocks; air pollution from vehicle emissions

Oman

rising soil salinity; beach pollution from oil spills; very limited natural fresh water resources

Pacific Ocean

endangered marine species include the dugong, sea lion, sea otter, seals, turtles, and whales; oil pollution in Philippine Sea and South China Sea

Pakistan

water pollution from raw sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural runoff; limited natural fresh water resources; a majority of the population does not have access to potable water; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification

Palau

inadequate facilities for disposal of solid waste; threats to the marine ecosystem from sand and coral dredging, illegal fishing practices, and overfishing

Palmyra Atoll

NA

Panama

water pollution from agricultural runoff threatens fishery resources; deforestation of tropical rain forest; land degradation and soil erosion threatens siltation of Panama Canal

Papua New Guinea

rain forest subject to deforestation as a result of growing commercial demand for tropical timber; pollution from mining projects; severe drought

Paracel Islands

NA

Paraguay

deforestation (an estimated 2 million hectares of forest land were lost from 1958-85); water pollution; inadequate means for waste disposal present health risks for many urban residents

Peru

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

Philippines

uncontrolled deforestation in watershed areas; soil erosion; air and water pollution in Manila; increasing pollution of coastal mangrove swamps which are important fish breeding grounds

Pitcairn Islands

deforestation (only a small portion of the original forest remains because of burning and clearing for settlement)

Poland

situation has improved since 1989 due to decline in heavy industry and increased environmental concern by postcommunist 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

Portugal

soil erosion; air pollution caused by industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution, especially in coastal areas

Puerto Rico

erosion; occasional drought causing water shortages

Qatar

limited natural fresh water resources are increasing dependence on large-scale desalination facilities

Reunion

NA

Romania

soil erosion and degradation; water pollution; air pollution in south from industrial effluents; contamination of Danube delta wetlands

Russia

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 sea coasts; deforestation; soil erosion; soil contamination from improper application of agricultural chemicals; scattered areas of sometimes intense radioactive contamination; ground water contamination from toxic waste

Rwanda

deforestation results from uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel; overgrazing; soil exhaustion; soil erosion; widespread poaching

Saint Helena

NA

Saint Kitts and Nevis

NA

Saint Lucia

deforestation; soil erosion, particularly in the northern region

Saint Pierre and Miquelon

NA

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

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

Samoa

soil erosion

San Marino

NA

Sao Tome and Principe

deforestation; soil erosion and exhaustion

Saudi 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

Senegal

wildlife populations threatened by poaching; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; overfishing

Serbia and Montenegro

pollution of coastal waters from sewage outlets, especially in tourist-related areas such as Kotor; air pollution around Belgrade and other industrial cities; water pollution from industrial wastes dumped into the Sava which flows into the Danube

Seychelles

water supply depends on catchments to collect rain water

Sierra 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 depleting natural resources; overfishing

Singapore

industrial pollution; limited natural fresh water resources; limited land availability presents waste disposal problems; seasonal smoke/haze resulting from forest fires in Indonesia

Slovakia

air pollution from metallurgical plants presents human health risks; acid rain damaging forests

Slovenia

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 Islands

deforestation; soil erosion; much of the surrounding coral reefs are dead or dying

Somalia

famine; use of contaminated water contributes to human health problems; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

South Africa

lack of important arterial rivers or lakes requires extensive water conservation and control measures; growth in water usage threatens to outpace supply; pollution of rivers from agricultural runoff and urban discharge; air pollution resulting in acid rain; soil erosion; desertification

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

NA

Southern 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)

Spain

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

Spratly Islands

NA

Sri 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

Sudan

inadequate supplies of potable water; wildlife populations threatened by excessive hunting; soil erosion; desertification

Suriname

deforestation as timber is cut for export; pollution of inland waterways by small-scale mining activities

Svalbard

NA

Swaziland

limited supplies of potable water; wildlife populations being depleted because of excessive hunting; overgrazing; soil degradation; soil erosion

Sweden

acid rain damaging soils and lakes; pollution of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea

Switzerland

air pollution from vehicle emissions and open-air burning; acid rain; water pollution from increased use of agricultural fertilizers; loss of biodiversity

Syria

deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution from dumping of raw sewage and wastes from petroleum refining; inadequate supplies of potable water

Taiwan

air pollution; water pollution from industrial emissions, raw sewage; contamination of drinking water supplies; trade in endangered species; low-level radioactive waste disposal

Tajikistan

inadequate sanitation facilities; increasing levels of soil salinity; industrial pollution; excessive pesticides; part of the basin of the shrinking Aral Sea suffers from severe overutilization of available water for irrigation and associated pollution

Tanzania

soil degradation; deforestation; desertification; destruction of coral reefs threatens marine habitats; recent droughts affected marginal agriculture

Thailand

air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting

Togo

deforestation attributable to slash-and-burn agriculture and the use of wood for fuel; recent droughts affecting agriculture

Tokelau

very limited natural resources and overcrowding are contributing to emigration to New Zealand

Tonga

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 Tobago

water pollution from agricultural chemicals, industrial wastes, and raw sewage; oil pollution of beaches; deforestation; soil erosion

Tromelin Island

NA

Tunisia

toxic and hazardous waste disposal is ineffective and presents human health risks; water pollution from raw sewage; limited natural fresh water resources; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

Turkey

water pollution from dumping of chemicals and detergents; air pollution, particularly in urban areas; deforestation; concern for oil spills from increasing Bosporus ship traffic

Turkmenistan

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 Islands

limited natural fresh water resources, private cisterns collect rainwater

Tuvalu

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 very concerned about global increases in greenhouse gas emissions and their effect on rising sea levels, which threaten the country's underground water table

Uganda

draining of wetlands for agricultural use; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; poaching is widespread

Ukraine

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 Emirates

lack of natural freshwater resources being overcome by desalination plants; desertification; beach pollution from oil spills

United Kingdom

sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants contribute to air pollution; some rivers polluted by agricultural wastes; and coastal waters polluted because of large-scale disposal of sewage at sea

United 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; very limited natural fresh water resources in much of the western part of the country require careful management; desertification

Uruguay

water pollution from meat packing/tannery industry; inadequate solid/hazardous waste disposal

Uzbekistan

drying up 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 agricultural chemicals, including DDT

Vanuatu

a majority of the population does not have access to a potable and reliable supply of water; deforestation

Venezuela

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

Vietnam

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 Islands

lack of natural freshwater resources

Wake Island

NA

Wallis and Futuna

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 Bank

adequacy of fresh water supply; sewage treatment

Western Sahara

sparse water and lack of arable land

World

large areas subject to overpopulation, industrial disasters, pollution (air, water, acid rain, toxic substances), loss of vegetation (overgrazing, deforestation, desertification), loss of wildlife, soil degradation, soil depletion, erosion

Yemen

very limited natural fresh water resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

Zambia

air pollution and resulting acid rain in the mineral extraction and refining region; poaching seriously threatens rhinoceros and elephant populations; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; lack of adequate water treatment presents human health risks

Zimbabwe

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
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