Dan Rang - Aug 3, 2009

Environmental protection is becoming the problem number one in the world of 21st century because of the ongoing climate change. The recent Environmental Performance Index (EPI) reveals how much modern countries take care of their environment. Developed by Columbia and Yale Universities the index ranks the environmental performance of 140 countries based on 25 categories ranging from air and water quality to biodiversity and the use of pesticides. focuses on the best of the best in their regions.

Western Europe: Switzerland

Switzerland is the fifth affluent nation (GDP-per-capita basis) and also the cleanest country in the world. In eight environmental indicators including sanitation, water quality, forest health and pesticide regulation Switzerland scores perfect 100. No wonder that the Swiss enjoy the average life expectancy of 81 years. However thanks to the mountainous landscape the country achieved only an average score in agricultural practices since the farmers have to grow their crops on every slope and every empty spot.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia: Croatia

Croatia is the 20th cleanest country in the world and is the number one in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Clean beaches are the priority in Croatia. The country lies by the Adriatic Sea, and offers its visitors clean water as well as healthy fishing stocks. The waterborne disease is an unknown term in Croatia. However the decades of communist regime left its deep marks and in some industries the country still embraces not the greenest practices emitting greenhouse gasses. That is why the air quality suffers considerably in Croatia.

Americas: Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the 5th cleanest country in the world. Its economy heavily relies on ecotourism and as such the country strives to become carbon-neutral until 2021. Costa Rica successfully avoided deforestation that ravages the forests in other Latin American countries. It earns the score 97 and more out of 100 in the categories of forestry, air pollution and climate change. On the other hand the country is not very successful in scoring well in the marine protected areas categories.

Asia and Pacific: New Zealand

New Zealand is number 7 on the world's scale. It is known as a paradise for people seeking outdoor activities. The country pays great attention to maintaining its environment thus achieving 84.5 out of 100 on effective conservation index. It reaches also perfect scores in water quality and air quality. However the country's industry and utility sectors produce considerable amounts of CO2 preventing New Zealand to achieve better scores.

Middle East and North Africa: Israel

Israel is the 49th cleanest country in the world. 7.2 million inhabitants enjoy good water quality, developed sanitation infrastructure and air quality. These categories rival even the cleanest European countries such as Switzerland. The life expectancy in Israel is 81 which is also comparable with countries on the top of the Index. Israel scores 100 in management of the country’s limited forests but only 4.5 out of 100 for pesticide regulation.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Mauritius

Mauritius is the 58th cleanest country in the world. The island is located 1200 miles from Africa' east coast in the Indian Ocean. It's average health score is 97,7 compared to other Sub-Saharan countries where the average score reaches only 44,5 out of 100. Mauritius has good supplies of clean drinking water and developed sanitation infrastructure. The cleanliness of air rivals even the Scandinavian countries. These indices show that the environment is rarely a source of any ailment. Its only negative are the gas emissions.

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