Top 10 countries with severe environmental issues
Making a list of the most harmful countries to the environment is certainly trickier than ranking the greenest nations. The matter is far more nuanced, with a lot of complicated factors to be considered.
Texas Electricity Ratings is here to help you grasp this complicated issue on a more intricate level.
Understanding Environmental Footprint
While the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) is a clear indicator of a country’s attitude toward the environment as defined by its policies and practices, the countries with the lowest EPI aren’t the ones that inflict the most damage on our planet or use up the most of its resources, despite common deduction would suggest to.
Nations with the lowest EPI are usually underdeveloped countries which simply can’t afford to be environmentally conscious when their population is starving dying of thirst.
For example, Burundi has the lowest EPI for 2018, but do you think that’s the country which damages our planet the most? Of course not – it couldn’t even if it wanted to, simply because it doesn’t have the necessary economic power.
Expert organizations on environmental footprint, one of the most authoritative ones being Global Footprint Network, have long established a strong, positive correlation between a country’s GDP and its environmental footprint. But again, that doesn’t automatically mean that the richer the country, the more toxic it is to the planet.
Before jumping to condemnation, we should also remember that the larger the country and the more population it has, the more resources it will inevitably use up, regardless of how environmentally conscious it may be. Another factor to keep in mind is natural biodiversity, which is a gift that countries aren’t equally graced with and one that also influences their footprint.
So, here are 10 of the most damaging countries to our environment, ranked from least bad to worst according to their ecological footprint per capita (in global hectares that would be needed to make up for this footprint), as per the Global Footprint Network.
Bermuda faces all kinds of water-related problems due to negligence and overindulgence, from dwindling fish resources due to overfishing and failure to conserve water, to irresponsible solid and hazardous waste disposal practices.
Mongolia is notorious for its deforestation, which is partly due to pests, and largely due to people. This respectively creates an avalanche of other issues. On top of that, the rapid industrialization has caused alarming water and air pollution.
Canada’s highly lucrative gas and oil operations don’t come without a cost, accounting for 25% of the country’s carbon footprint, which respectively is one of the biggest in the world. Not surprisingly, the air in urban areas is polluted, and air quality altogether is one of the country’s main concerns.
USA’s negligent attitude toward the planet has been brought to a particularly harsh light during Trump’s presidency, which is defined by the refusal to acknowledge the magnitude of environmental issues and their urgency. The country is generally notorious for its rampant and insatiable consumerism, something that is perhaps the environment’s biggest arch-nemesis.
- Trinidad and Tobago
The Caribbean republic is faced with a wide range of environmental issues, largely caused by industrialization and dense population. More specifically, its poor industrial waste management and use of agricultural chemicals lead to water pollution, while deforestation triggers a chain reaction of climate changes, causing biodiversity and ecosystems to dwindle.
Being at the center of a lot of political tension, Kuwait hasn’t been able to deal with its various environmental issues.
The main culprit that instantly springs to mind is the oil industry, causing all kinds of pollution and climate changes.
Again, you don’t have to look further than the cult of oil to know what’s eating away at the country’s environment like a virus, leading to desertification, diminishing fresh water supplies, and all-around pollution.
- United Arab Emirates
With the risk of getting repetitive, as long as oil is treated like life, while water and other vital resources are treated like mere a disposable, the United Arab Emirates won’t be able to turn things around and mitigate its impact on climate change and everything else that comes with it.
The established correlation between higher GDP and environmental footprint surfaces in all its magnitude in Luxembourg. In addition to its heavy traffic, ror a while, the country had a disregard for renewable energy.
It’s worth noting that the country has adopted some significant policy changes and actually has the 6th highest EPI for 2018, which is a great reason for hope.
Qatar’s carbon footprint is three times larger than the one of the US, which says a lot. Where does it come from? Once again, oil production, at ridiculous rates.
While the reasons behind those countries’ large environmental footprint vary, at least to an extent, there’s a clear overarching theme – greed, consumerism, and apathy.