Environment - current issues

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Afghanistanlimited natural freshwater 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
Akrotirihunting around the salt lake; note - breeding place for loggerhead and green turtles; only remaining colony of griffon vultures is on the base
Albaniadeforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents
Algeriasoil 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 Samoalimited natural freshwater resources; the water division of the government has spent substantial funds in the past few years to improve water catchments and pipelines
Andorradeforestation; overgrazing of mountain meadows contributes to soil erosion; air pollution; wastewater treatment and solid waste disposal
Angolaoveruse 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
Anguillasupplies of potable water sometimes cannot meet increasing demand largely because of poor distribution system
Antarctica"the discovery of a large Antarctic ozone hole in the earth's stratosphere (the ozone layer) - first announced in 1985 - spurred the signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987, an international agreement phasing out the use of ozone-depleting chemicals; the ozone layer prevents most harmful wavelengths of ultra-violet (UV) light from passing through the earth's atmosphere; ozone depletion has been shown to harm a variety of Antarctic marine plants and animals (plankton); in 2002, significant areas of ice shelves disintegrated in response to regional warming; in 2016, a gradual trend toward ""healing"" of the ozone hole was reported
Antigua and Barbudawater management - a major concern because of limited natural freshwater resources - is further hampered by the clearing of trees to increase crop production, causing rainfall to run off quickly
Arctic Oceanendangered marine species include walruses and whales; fragile ecosystem slow to change and slow to recover from disruptions or damage; thinning polar icepack
Argentinaenvironmental problems (urban and rural) typical of an industrializing economy such as deforestation, soil degradation, desertification, air pollution, and water pollution
note: Argentina is a world leader in setting voluntary greenhouse gas targets
Armeniasoil pollution from toxic chemicals such as DDT; deforestation; 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
Arubadifficulty in properly disposing of waste produced by large numbers of tourists
Ashmore and Cartier Islandsillegal killing of protected wildlife by traditional Indonesian fisherman, as well as fishing by non-traditional Indonesian vessels, are ongoing problems
Atlantic Oceanendangered 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
Australiasoil 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 freshwater resources
Austriasome 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
Azerbaijanlocal 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
Bahamas, Thecoral reef decay; solid waste disposal
Bahraindesertification 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 Islandno natural fresh water resources
Bangladeshmany 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
Barbadospollution of coastal waters from waste disposal by ships; soil erosion; illegal solid waste disposal threatens contamination of aquifers
Belarussoil pollution from pesticide use; southern part of the country contaminated with fallout from 1986 nuclear reactor accident at Chornobyl' in northern Ukraine
Belgiumintense 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
Belizedeforestation; water pollution from sewage, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff; solid and sewage waste disposal
Benininadequate supplies of potable water; poaching threatens wildlife populations; deforestation; desertification
Bermudadense population and heavy vehicle traffic create serious pollution problems; water resources scarce (most obtained as rainwater or from wells); there is no sewage treatment on the island
Bhutansoil erosion; limited access to potable water
Boliviathe 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 Herzegovinaair pollution; deforestation and illegal logging; inadequate wastewater treatment and flood management facilities; sites for disposing of urban waste are limited; land mines left over from the 1992-95 civil strife are a hazard in some areas
Botswanaovergrazing; desertification; limited freshwater resources
Bouvet Islandnone; almost entirely ice covered
Brazildeforestation 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 Territorywastewater discharge into the lagoon on Diego Garcia
British Virgin Islandslimited natural freshwater resources except for a few seasonal streams and springs on Tortola; most of the islands' water supply comes from desalination plants
Bruneiseasonal smoke/haze resulting from forest fires in Indonesia
Bulgariaair 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 Fasorecent droughts and desertification severely affecting agricultural activities, population distribution, and the economy; overgrazing; soil degradation; deforestation
Burmadeforestation; industrial pollution of air, soil, and water; inadequate sanitation and water treatment contribute to disease
Burundisoil 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
Cambodiaillegal 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
Cameroonwaterborne diseases are prevalent; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; poaching; overfishing
Canadametal smelting, coal-burning utilities, and vehicle emissions impacting agricultural and forest productivity; air pollution and resulting acid rain severely affecting lakes and damaging forests; ocean waters becoming contaminated due to agricultural, industrial, mining, and forestry activities
Cape Verdesoil erosion; deforestation due to demand for firewood; water shortages; desertification; environmental damage has threatened several species of birds and reptiles; illegal beach sand extraction; overfishing
Cayman Islandsno natural freshwater resources; drinking water supplies are met by reverse osmosis desalination plants
Central African Republictap water is not potable; poaching has diminished the country's reputation as one of the last great wildlife refuges; desertification; deforestation
Chadinadequate supplies of potable water; improper waste disposal in rural areas contributes to soil and water pollution; desertification
Chilewidespread deforestation and mining threaten natural resources; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage
Chinaair pollution (greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide particulates) from reliance on coal produces acid rain; China is the world's largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water shortages, particularly in the north; water pollution from untreated wastes; coastal destruction due to land reclamation, industrial development, and aquaculture; deforestation and habitat destruction; poor land management leads to soil erosion, landslides, floods, droughts, dust storms and desertification; trade in endangered species
Christmas Islandloss of rainforest; impact of phosphate mining
Clipperton Islandno natural resources, guano deposits depleted; the ring-shaped atoll encloses a stagnant fresh-water lagoon
Cocos (Keeling) Islandsfreshwater resources are limited to rainwater accumulations in natural underground reservoirs
Colombiadeforestation; soil and water quality damage from overuse of pesticides; air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions
Comorossoil degradation and erosion results from crop cultivation on slopes without proper terracing; deforestation
Congo, Democratic Republic of thepoaching threatens wildlife populations; water pollution; deforestation; soil erosion; mining (diamonds, gold, coltan - a mineral used in creating capacitors for electronic devices) causing environmental damage
Congo, Republic of theair pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; tap water is not potable; deforestation
Cook Islandslimited land presents solid and liquid waste disposal problems; environmental degradation due to unregulated building
Coral Sea Islandsno permanent freshwater resources
Costa Ricadeforestation 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'Ivoiredeforestation (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
Croatiaair pollution improving but still a concern in urban settings and in emissions arriving from neighboring countries; surface water pollution in the Danube River Basin
Cubaair and water pollution; biodiversity loss; deforestation
Curacaoproblems in waste management that threaten environmental sustainability on the island include pollution of marine areas from domestic sewage, inadequate sewage treatment facilities, industrial effluents and agricultural runoff, the management of toxic substances, and ineffective regulations
Cypruswater 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 Republicair 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
Denmarkair 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
Dhekelianetting and trapping of small migrant songbirds in the spring and autumn
Djiboutiinadequate supplies of potable water; limited arable land; desertification; endangered species
Dominicawater shortages a continuing concern; pollution from chemicals used in farming and from untreated sewage; forests endangered by the expansion of farming activities
Dominican Republicwater shortages; soil eroding into the sea damages coral reefs; deforestation
East Timorwidespread use of slash and burn agriculture has led to deforestation and soil erosion
Ecuadordeforestation; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution; pollution from oil production wastes in ecologically sensitive areas of the Amazon Basin and Galapagos Islands
Egyptagricultural 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 freshwater resources away from the Nile, which is the only perennial water source; rapid growth in population overstraining the Nile and natural resources
El Salvadordeforestation; soil erosion; water pollution; contamination of soils from disposal of toxic wastes
Equatorial Guineatap water is non-potable; deforestation
Eritreadeforestation; desertification; soil erosion; overgrazing
Estoniaair polluted with sulfur dioxide from oil-shale burning power plants in northeast; however, the amounts of pollutants emitted to the air have fallen dramatically and the pollution load of wastewater at purification plants has decreased substantially due to improved technology and environmental monitoring; 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
Ethiopiadeforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water shortages in some areas from water-intensive farming and poor management
European Unionvarious forms of air, soil, and water pollution; see individual country entries
Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)overfishing by unlicensed vessels is a problem; reindeer - introduced to the islands in 2001 from South Georgia - are part of a farming effort to produce specialty meat and diversify the islands' economy; this is the only commercial reindeer herd in the world unaffected by the 1986 Chornobyl disaster
Faroe Islandscoastal erosion, landslides and rockfalls, flash flooding, wind storms; oil spills
Fijideforestation; soil erosion
Finlandair pollution from manufacturing and power plants contributing to acid rain; water pollution from industrial wastes, agricultural chemicals; habitat loss threatens wildlife populations
Francesome forest damage from acid rain; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from urban wastes, agricultural runoff
French Polynesiasea level rise; extreme weather events (cyclones, storms, and tsunamis producing floods, landslides, erosion, and reef damage); droughts; fresh water scarcity
French Southern and Antarctic Landsintroduction of foreign species on Iles Crozet has caused severe damage to the original ecosystem; overfishing of Patagonian toothfish around Iles Crozet and Iles Kerguelen
Gabondeforestation; burgeoning population exacerbating disposal of solid waste; oil industry contributing to water pollution; wildlife poaching
Gambia, Thedeforestation; desertification; water-borne diseases prevalent
Gaza Stripdesertification; salination of fresh water; sewage treatment; water-borne disease; soil degradation; depletion and contamination of underground water resources
Georgiaair pollution, particularly in Rust'avi; heavy pollution of Mtkvari River and the Black Sea; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil pollution from toxic chemicals
Germanyemissions 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 by 2022; government working to meet EU commitment to identify nature preservation areas in line with the EU's Flora, Fauna, and Habitat directive
Ghanarecurrent 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
Gibraltarlimited natural freshwater resources: large concrete or natural rock water catchments collect rainwater (no longer used for drinking water) and adequate desalination plant
Greeceair pollution; water pollution
Greenlandprotection of the arctic environment; preservation of the Inuit traditional way of life, including whaling and seal hunting
Grenadadeforestation causing habitat destruction and species loss; coastal erosion and contamination; pollution and sedimentation; inadequate solid waste management
Guamfresh water scarcity; reef damage; inadequate sewage treatment; extermination of native bird populations by the rapid proliferation of the brown tree snake, an exotic, invasive species
Guatemaladeforestation in the Peten rainforest; soil erosion; water pollution
Guernseycoastal erosion, coastal flooding; declining biodiversity due to land abandonment and succession to scrub or woodland
Guineadeforestation; inadequate potable water; desertification; soil contamination and erosion; overfishing, overpopulation in forest region; poor mining practices have led to environmental damage
Guinea-Bissaudeforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; overfishing
Guyanawater pollution from sewage and agricultural and industrial chemicals; deforestation
Haitiextensive 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 Islandsnone; uninhabited and mostly ice covered
Holy See (Vatican City)some air pollution from the surrounding city of Rome
Hondurasurban 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 Kongair and water pollution from rapid urbanization
Howland Islandno natural fresh water resources
Hungarythe upgrading of Hungary's standards in waste management, energy efficiency, and air, soil, and water pollution to meet EU requirements will require large investments
Icelandwater pollution from fertilizer runoff; inadequate wastewater treatment
Indiadeforestation; 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 Oceanendangered marine species include the dugong, seals, turtles, and whales; oil pollution in the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, and Red Sea
Indonesiadeforestation; water pollution from industrial wastes, sewage; air pollution in urban areas; smoke and haze from forest fires
Iranair 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
Iraqgovernment water control projects 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
Irelandwater pollution, especially of lakes, from agricultural runoff
Isle of Manwaste disposal (both household and industrial); transboundary air pollution
Israellimited arable land and restricted natural freshwater resources; desertification; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; groundwater pollution from industrial and domestic waste, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides
Italyair 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
Jamaicaheavy rates of deforestation; coastal waters polluted by industrial waste, sewage, and oil spills; damage to coral reefs; air pollution in Kingston from vehicle emissions
Jan Mayenpollutants transported from southerly latitudes by winds, ocean currents, and rivers accumulate in the food chains of native animals
Japanair 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; following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan originally planned to phase out nuclear power, but it has now implemented a new policy of seeking to restart nuclear power plants that meet strict new safety standards
Jarvis Islandno natural fresh water resources
Jerseyhabitat and species depletion due to human encroachment; water pollution; improper solid waste disposal
Johnston Atollno natural fresh water resources
Jordanlimited natural freshwater resources; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
Kazakhstanradioactive 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
Kenyawater 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 Reefillegal foreign fishing; marine debris washing up on reef can entangle and kill wildlife
Kiribatiheavy 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, Northwater pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water; waterborne disease; deforestation; soil erosion and degradation
Korea, Southair pollution in large cities; acid rain; water pollution from the discharge of sewage and industrial effluents; drift net fishing
Kuwaitlimited natural freshwater resources; some of world's largest and most sophisticated desalination facilities provide much of the water; air and water pollution; desertification
Kyrgyzstanwater 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
Laosunexploded ordnance; deforestation; soil erosion; most of the population does not have access to potable water
LatviaLatvia's environment has benefited from a shift to service industries after the country regained independence; improvements have occurred in drinking water quality, sewage treatment, household and hazardous waste management, as well as reduction of air pollution
Lebanondeforestation; 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
Lesothopopulation 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
Liberiatropical rain forest deforestation; soil erosion; loss of biodiversity; pollution of coastal waters from oil residue and raw sewage
Libyadesertification; limited natural freshwater resources; the Great Manmade River Project, the largest water development scheme in the world, brings water from large aquifers under the Sahara to coastal cities
Liechtensteinsome air pollution generated locally, some transfered from surrounding countries
Lithuaniacontamination of soil and groundwater with petroleum products and chemicals at military bases
Luxembourgair and water pollution in urban areas, soil pollution of farmland
Macauair pollution; coastal waters pollution; insufficient policies in reducing and recycling solid wastes; increasing population density worsening noise pollution
Macedoniaair pollution from metallurgical plants
Madagascarsoil 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
Malawideforestation; land degradation; water pollution from agricultural runoff, sewage, industrial wastes; siltation of spawning grounds endangers fish populations
Malaysiaair pollution from industrial and vehicular emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; deforestation; smoke/haze from Indonesian forest fires
Maldivesdepletion of freshwater aquifers threatens water supplies; coral reef bleaching
Malideforestation; soil erosion; desertification; inadequate supplies of potable water
Maltalimited natural freshwater resources; increasing reliance on desalination
Marshall Islandsinadequate supplies of potable water; pollution of Majuro lagoon from household waste and discharges from fishing vessels
Mauritaniaovergrazing, deforestation, and soil erosion aggravated by drought are contributing to desertification; limited natural freshwater resources away from the Senegal, which is the only perennial river; locust infestation
Mauritiuswater pollution, degradation of coral reefs
Mexicoscarcity of hazardous waste disposal facilities; rural to urban migration; natural freshwater 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
note: the government considers the lack of clean water and deforestation national security issues
Micronesia, Federated States ofoverfishing, climate change, pollution
Midway Islandssmall plastic ocean debris mistaken for fish or squid by birds is fed to fledglings resulting in starvation; fishing nets that wash ashore entangle wildlife resulting in starvation or strangulation
Moldovaheavy use of agricultural chemicals, including banned pesticides such as DDT, has contaminated soil and groundwater; extensive soil erosion from poor farming methods
MonacoNA no serious issues; actively monitors pollution levels in air and water
Mongolialimited natural freshwater 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
Montenegropollution of coastal waters from sewage outlets, especially in tourist-related areas such as Kotor
Montserratland erosion occurs on slopes that have been cleared for cultivation
Moroccoland 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
Mozambiqueincreased 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
Namibialimited natural freshwater resources; desertification; wildlife poaching; land degradation has led to few conservation areas
Naurulimited natural freshwater resources, roof storage tanks collect rainwater but mostly dependent on a single, aging desalination plant; a century of intensive phosphate mining beginning in 1906 - mainly by a UK, Australia, and NZ consortium - left the central 90% of Nauru a wasteland and threatens limited remaining land resources
Navassa Islandsome coral bleaching
Nepaldeforestation (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
Netherlandswater 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 Caledoniaerosion caused by mining exploitation and forest fires
New Zealanddeforestation; soil erosion; native flora and fauna hard-hit by invasive species
Nicaraguadeforestation; soil erosion; water pollution
Nigerovergrazing; soil erosion; deforestation; desertification; wildlife populations (such as elephant, hippopotamus, giraffe, and lion) threatened because of poaching and habitat destruction
Nigeriasoil 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
Niueincreasing attention to conservationist practices to counter loss of soil fertility from traditional slash and burn agriculture
Norfolk Islandinadequate solid waste management; freshwater obtained through rainwater catchment; deficient electrical network
Northern Mariana Islandscontamination of groundwater on Saipan may contribute to disease; clean-up of landfill; protection of endangered species conflicts with development
Norwaywater pollution; acid rain damaging forests and adversely affecting lakes, threatening fish stocks; air pollution from vehicle emissions
Omanrising soil salinity; beach pollution from oil spills; limited natural freshwater resources
Pacific Oceanendangered marine species include the dugong, sea lion, sea otter, seals, turtles, and whales; oil pollution in Philippine Sea and South China Sea
Pakistanwater pollution from raw sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural runoff; limited natural freshwater resources; most of the population does not have access to potable water; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification
Palauinadequate facilities for disposal of solid waste; threats to the marine ecosystem from sand and coral dredging, illegal fishing practices, and overfishing
Palmyra Atolla few of the islets are designated Unexploded Ordnance Areas, a legacy of US Navy occupation (1934-59), and are closed to entry; invasive plants and insects compete with native biota
Panamawater 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 Guinearain forest subject to deforestation as a result of growing commercial demand for tropical timber; pollution from mining projects; severe drought
Paracel IslandsChina's use of dredged sand and coral to build artificial islands harms reef systems; ongoing human activities, including military operations, infrastructure construction, and tourism endangers local ecosystem including birds, fish, marine mammals, and marine reptiles
Paraguaydeforestation; water pollution; inadequate means for waste disposal pose health risks for many urban residents; loss of wetlands
Perudeforestation (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
Philippinesuncontrolled 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 Islandsdeforestation (only a small portion of the original forest remains because of burning and clearing for settlement)
Polanddecreased emphasis on heavy industry and increased environmental concern by post-communist governments has improved environment; air pollution remains serious because of 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
Portugalsoil erosion; air pollution caused by industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution, especially in coastal areas
Puerto Ricosoil erosion; occasional drought causing water shortages
Qatarlimited natural freshwater resources are increasing dependence on large-scale desalination facilities
Romaniasoil erosion and degradation; water pollution; air pollution in south from industrial effluents; contamination of Danube delta wetlands
Russiaair 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
Rwandadeforestation results from uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel; overgrazing; soil exhaustion; soil erosion; widespread poaching
Saint Barthelemywith no natural rivers or streams, fresh water is in short supply, especially in summer, and provided by desalination of sea water, collection of rain water, or imported via water tanker
Saint Helenadevelopment threatens unique biota on Saint Helena
Saint Kitts and Nevisdeforestation; soil erosion and silting affects marine life on coral reefs; water pollution from uncontrolled dumping of sewage
Saint Luciadeforestation; soil erosion, particularly in the northern region
Saint Martinfreshwater supply is dependent on desalination of sea water
Saint Pierre and Miquelonrecent test drilling for oil in waters around Saint Pierre and Miquelon may bring future development that would impact the environment
Saint Vincent and the Grenadinespollution of coastal waters and shorelines from discharges by pleasure yachts and other effluents; in some areas, pollution is severe enough to make swimming prohibitive
Samoasoil erosion, deforestation, invasive species, overfishing
San Marinoair pollution; urbanization decreasing rural farmlands
Sao Tome and Principedeforestation; soil erosion and exhaustion
Saudi Arabiadesertification; 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
Senegalwildlife populations threatened by poaching; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; overfishing
Serbiaair pollution around Belgrade and other industrial cities; water pollution from industrial wastes dumped into the Sava which flows into the Danube
Seychelleswater supply depends on catchments to collect rainwater
Sierra Leonerapid 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
Singaporeindustrial pollution; limited natural freshwater resources; limited land availability presents waste disposal problems; seasonal smoke/haze resulting from forest fires in Indonesia
Sint Maartenscarcity of potable water (increasing percentage provided by desalination); inadequate solid waste management; pollution from construction, chemical runoff, and sewage harms reefs
Slovakiaair pollution from metallurgical plants presents human health risks; acid rain damaging forests
SloveniaSava River polluted with domestic and industrial waste; pollution of coastal waters with heavy metals and toxic chemicals; forest damage from urban air pollution and resulting acid rain
Solomon Islandsdeforestation; soil erosion; many of the surrounding coral reefs are dead or dying
Somaliafamine; use of contaminated water contributes to human health problems; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
South Africalack 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 Georgia and the South Sandwich Islandsreindeer - introduced to the islands on several occasions in the 20th century - devastated the native flora and bird species; some reindeer were translocated to the Falkland Islands in 2001, the rest were exterminated (2013-14)
Southern Oceanincreased solar ultraviolet radiation resulting from the Antarctic ozone hole in recent years, reducing marine primary productivity (phytoplankton), damaging the DNA of some fish, and causing sun damage to some mammals; large amount of mortality of seabirds resulting from long-line fishing for toothfish; ocean acidification
note: the now-protected fur seal population is making a strong comeback after severe overexploitation in the 18th and 19th centuries
Spainpollution 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 IslandsChina's use of dredged sand and coral to build artificial islands harms reef systems; illegal fishing practices indiscriminately harvest endangered species, including sea turtles and giant clams
Sri Lankadeforestation; 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
Sudaninadequate supplies of potable water; wildlife populations threatened by excessive hunting; soil erosion; desertification; periodic drought
Surinamedeforestation as timber is cut for export; pollution of inland waterways by small-scale mining activities
Svalbardice floes are a maritime hazard; past exploitation of mammal species (whale, seal, walrus, and polar bear) severely depleted the populations, but a gradual recovery seems to be occurring
Swazilandlimited supplies of potable water; wildlife populations being depleted because of excessive hunting; overgrazing; soil degradation; soil erosion
Swedenacid rain damage to soils and lakes; pollution of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea
Switzerlandair pollution from vehicle emissions and open-air burning; acid rain; water pollution from increased use of agricultural fertilizers; loss of biodiversity
Syriadeforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution from raw sewage and petroleum refining wastes; inadequate potable water
Taiwanair pollution; water pollution from industrial emissions, raw sewage; contamination of drinking water supplies; trade in endangered species; low-level radioactive waste disposal
Tajikistaninadequate sanitation facilities; increasing levels of soil salinity; industrial pollution; excessive pesticides
Tanzaniasoil 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
Thailandair pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting
Togodeforestation 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
Tokelaulimited natural resources and overcrowding are contributing to emigration to New Zealand
Tongadeforestation 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 Tobagowater pollution from agricultural chemicals, industrial wastes, and raw sewage; oil pollution of beaches; deforestation; soil erosion
Tunisiatoxic and hazardous waste disposal is ineffective and poses health risks; water pollution from raw sewage; limited natural freshwater resources; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
Turkeywater pollution from dumping of chemicals and detergents; air pollution, particularly in urban areas; deforestation; concern for oil spills from increasing Bosporus ship traffic
Turkmenistancontamination 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 Islandslimited natural freshwater resources, private cisterns collect rainwater
Tuvaluwater needs met by catchment systems; the use of sand as a building material has led to beachhead erosion; excessive clearance of forest undergrowth for use as fuel; damage to coral reefs from increasing ocean temperatures and acidification; rising sea levels threaten water table; in 2000, the government appealed to Australia and New Zealand to take in Tuvaluans if rising sea levels should make evacuation necessary
Ugandadraining of wetlands for agricultural use; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; water hyacinth infestation in Lake Victoria; widespread poaching
Ukraineinadequate supplies of potable water; air and water pollution; deforestation; radiation contamination in the northeast from 1986 accident at Chornobyl' Nuclear Power Plant
United Arab Emirateslack of natural freshwater resources compensated by desalination plants; desertification; beach pollution from oil spills
United Kingdomcontinues to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but air pollution remains a concern, particularly in the London region; soil pollution from pesticides and heavy metals; decline in marine and coastal habitats brought on by pressures from housing, tourism, and industry
United Stateslarge emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; air pollution resulting in acid rain in both the US and Canada; water pollution from runoff of pesticides and fertilizers; limited natural freshwater resources in much of the western part of the country require careful management; desertification
Uruguaywater pollution from meat packing/tannery industry; inadequate solid/hazardous waste disposal
Uzbekistanshrinkage of the Aral Sea has resulted in growing concentrations of chemical pesticides and natural salts; these substances are then blown from the increasingly exposed lake bed and contribute to desertification and respiratory health problems; 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
Vanuatumost of the population does not have access to a reliable supply of potable water; deforestation
Venezuelasewage 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
Vietnamlogging 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 Islandslack of natural freshwater resources
Wake Islandpotable water obtained through a catchment rainwater system and a desalinization plant for brackish ground water; hazardous wastes moved to an accumulation site for storage and eventual transport off site via barge
Wallis and Futunadeforestation (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 freshwater resources
West Bankadequacy of freshwater supply; sewage treatment
Western Saharasparse water and lack of arable land
Worldlarge 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; global warming becoming a greater concern
Yemenlimited natural freshwater resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
Zambiaair 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
Zimbabwedeforestation; 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

Source: CIA Factbook