ENVIRONMENT

The past 25 years have seen continuous and positive environmental changes in the Czech Republic. Before the 1989 Velvet Revolution and the end of the Communist regime, there had been little concern paid to the country’s environment, which was suffering from the dire effects of acid rain, industrial waste, air and water pollution and energy waste. Both human health and the health of the natural environment were negatively impacted.

With the accession of the Czech Republic to the EU in 2004 and the availability of the EU’s community resources, the national government was able to start making significant investments into cleaning up the environment and modernizing its environmental policies and practices. It proceeded to, for example, construct new landfills, clean up old waste dumps, and as install new waste-water treatment plants in many towns. These efforts led to the reduction of the previous high levels of land and water pollution.

Many rivers that were once dead are now home again to fish, otters and other wildlife.

The country is now making better use of its water resources, with consumption levels down and significant improvements being made to the quality of its surface water ecosystems.

Urban air pollution in the Czech Republic’s two major cities, Prague and Ostrava, is still a problem due to the presence of heavy industry, but efforts are being made to improve the situation.

As the country develops and land use becomes a concern, it is necessary, especially in large urban areas, to balance the need for construction of new transport infrastructure and housing with the need for long-term protection of agricultural land, forests, and other types of green areas.