Back in Europe - A Look at the Environmental Changes in the Czech Republic 1989 - 2009
The real state of the environment in what was then the Czechoslovak Socialistic Republic was so bad that the government hid most of the data from its citizens. The air in the infamous black triangle between northern Bohemia, southern East Germany and Poland was the most polluted in Europe. The majority of towns did not have waste-water treatment plants and some rivers looked more like sewers. The sorry state of the environment became a public priority and this was reflected in the democratic movement that led to the Velvet Revolution in November 1989. Consequently the Ministry of the Environment was established at the end of 1989. The Ministry prepared a legislative framework that led to amazing improvements in the environmental conditions in the Czech Republic.
Since 1990 emissions of sulphur oxide have decreased by 90%, emissions of greenhouse gases were lowered and the energy needs of the Czech economy have been dropping by 6% annually. Hundreds of wast-water treatment plants were built, recycling has improved and the share of renewable energy sources has increased. At the beginning of the 1990s a nature and landscape protection law was adopted and apart from minor changes valid to this date. Three new national parks and a number of protected areas were created and the entire Czech Republic was mapped for Natura 2000.
In 2004 the Czech Republic became a member of the European Union and implemented full European legislation. In 2009 the Czech Republic holds the European presidency. So how do eminent scientists and politicians such as Ms Jaqueline McGlad, Managing Director of the European Environmental Agency, Mr Ladislav Miko, Director of DG Environment of the European Commission, Mr Bedřich Moldan, the first Czech Minister of the Environment and the current Minister of the Environment Mr Martin Bursík, view the great improvements the Czech Republic has made to its environment?
- Back in Europe (MKV, 125 MB)