Latvia - Environment



Air and water pollution are among Latvia's most significant environmental concerns and are largely related to a lack of waste treatment facilities. In 1996, industrial carbon dioxide emissions totaled 9.2 million metric tons. Cars and other vehicles account for 70% of the country's air pollution. Acid rain has contributed to the destruction of Latvia's forests.

Latvia's water supply is perilously polluted with agricultural chemicals and industrial waste. The Gulf of Riga and the Davgava River are both heavily polluted. A majority of the nation's sewage does not receive adequate treatment. Almost half the nation's water contains bacteria levels that are beyond accepted safety limits.

One hundred twelve plant species, 20 types of lichen, and 32 types of mushrooms are endangered. Four mammal species and six bird species are also threatened. Threatened animal species include the marsh snail and the Russian desman.

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