The Czech Republic suffers from air, water, and land pollution caused by industry, mining, and agriculture. Lung cancer is prevalent in areas with the highest air pollution levels. In the mid-1990s, the nation had the world's highest industrial carbon dioxide emissions, totaling 135.6 million metric tons per year, a per capita level of 13.04 metric tons. Like the Slovak Republic, the Czech Republic has had its air contaminated by sulfur dioxide emissions resulting largely from the use of lignite as an energy source in the former Czechoslovakia, which had the highest level of sulfur dioxide emissions in Europe, and instituted a program to reduce pollution in the late 1980s. Western nations have offered $1 billion to spur environmental reforms, but the pressure to continue economic growth has postponed the push for environmental action.
The Czech Republic has a total of 15 cu km of freshwater resources, of which 1% is used for farming and 57% is used for industry. Both urban and rural dwellers have access to safe drinking water. Airborne emissions in the form of acid rain, combined with air pollution from Poland and the former GDR, have destroyed much of the forest in the northern part of the former Czechoslovakia. Land erosion caused by agricultural and mining practices is also a significant problem.
As of 2001, the endangered list included seven mammal species, six bird species, six types of freshwater fish, and seven plant species. Endangered species include the Atlantic sturgeon, slender-billed curlew, and Spengler's freshwater mussel.