Environmental Issues by country

“The environmental crises currently gripping the planet are the corollary of excessive human consumption of natural resources. There is considerable and mounting evidence that elevated degradation and loss of habitats and species are compromising ecosystems that sustain the quality of life for billions of people worldwide, ” says Corey Bradshaw, leader of a new study by the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute in Australia that has ranked most of the world’s countries for their environmental impact.

The study, Evaluating the Relative Environmental Impact of Countries, uses seven indicators of environmental degradation: natural forest loss, habitat conversion, marine captures, fertilizer use, water pollution, carbon emissions and species threat. Unlike existing rankings, this study deliberately avoided human health and economic data, and instead focused on environmental impact only. Other variables–bushmeat harvest, coral reef habitat quality, seagrass loss, freshwater habitat degradation, illegal fishing, invertebrate threat patterns, and some forms of greenhouse gas emission–were excluded due to a lack of country-specific data.

Two rankings were created: a “proportional” environmental impact ranking, where impact is measured against total resource availability, and an “absolute” environmental impact ranking which measures total environmental degradation at a global scale. Listed here are the top ten worst offending countries for absolute environmental impact, those that are just doing the most damage, regardless of per capita calculations.

The study, in collaboration with the National University of Singapore and Princeton University, found that the total wealth of a country was the most important driver of environmental impact. “We correlated rankings against three socio-economic variables (human population size, gross national income and governance quality) and found that total wealth was the most important explanatory variable the richer a country, the greater its average environmental impact, ” Professor Bradshaw said. “There is a theory that as wealth increases, nations have more access to clean technology and become more environmentally aware so that the environmental impact starts to decline. This wasn’t supported, ” he added.

10. Peru
Although Peru hardly seems capable of the harmful environmental impact that larger industrialized countries are capable of, the South America country ranks number 10 overall of countries creating negative environmental impact. Of 179 countries, Peru ranks 2nd for marine capture and 7th for threatened species. Over fishing and illegal trade of endangered species seem to be the culprit: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES) lists ten animal species as critically endangered (like the short-tailed chinchilla pictured above) the last step before extinction, 28 as endangered, and 99 as vulnerable in Peru.

9. Australia
About 11.5 percent of the the total land area of Australia is protected, which leaves a lot left (although much of it is arid desert) for unbridled usage, which is how the country ranks 7th worst in habitat conversion. It also ranks 9th for fertilizer use, and 10th for natural forest loss.

8. Russia
Less than half of Russia’s population has access to safe drinking water. While water pollution from industrial sources has diminished because of the decline in manufacturing, municipal wastes increasingly threaten key water supply sources, and nuclear contamination poses immense problems for key water sources as well–landing Russia in 4th place for worst water pollution. Russia ranks 5th in worst CO2 emissions–air quality is almost as poor as water quality, with over 200 cities often exceeding Russian pollution limits. The country ranks 7th for marine capture.

7. India
According to the Wall Street Journal, in an effort to boost food production, win farmer votes and encourage the domestic fertilizer industry, the government has increased its subsidy of urea fertilizer over the years, and now pays about half of the domestic industry’s cost of production. The overuse of urea is so degrading the soil that yields on some crops are falling–landing India is 2nd place for environmental impact due to fertilizer use.

Environmental Issues Ocean

Environmental Issues of the World

Environmental Issues in World