Land and Resources, Environmental Issues
agricultural wastes, high ash, acid rain, nuclear energy, Air pollution
The development policies of the Communist era combined with a lack of attention to environmental issues produced serious environmental problems in the Czech Republic. Drinking-water supplies and much of the country’s soils are contaminated with heavy metals and other industrial and agricultural wastes. Air pollution is a serious problem in many cities, particularly in the region of northern Bohemia; pollution has also degraded many of the country’s forests. With outside funds, the post-Communist governments have begun to address the country’s environmental problems. Recent efforts include the closing of several lignite mines and stricter enforcement of environmental regulations. Environmental considerations have also led government officials to consider nuclear energy as a main source of power for the country’s future.
The Czech Republic produces most of its energy by burning domestic coal. Much of the coal burned is low quality with a high ash and sulfur content, producing high levels of air pollution. Forests in the Czech Republic are among the most seriously affected by acid rain in all of Europe. Fertilizer applications are uncontrolled. In some areas of the country the nitrate content is so high that the water is considered unsafe for human consumption.
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