Lithuania - Environment

Lithuania's environmental problems include air pollution, water pollution, and the threat of nuclear contamination. The cement industry produces 299,000 metric tons of airborne pollutants per year. In 1996, industrial carbon dioxide emissions totaled 13.8 million metric tons per year. A UN report on Lithuania stated that air pollution had damaged about 68.4% of the nation's forests.

Water pollution results from uncontrolled dumping by industries and the lack of adequate sewage treatment facilities. In the 1990s, 42% of the nation's treatment facilities were inoperative.

After the nuclear accident at Chernobyl that contaminated much of Lithuania with excessive radiation, Lithuanians are concerned about nuclear energy development, especially the use of nuclear power generated by plants of the same kind as the one at Chernobyl.

Lithuania's pollution problems have also affected the nation's wildlife. Although nearly 10% of Lithuania's total land area was protected as of 2001, many of the country's original animal and plant species are now extinct. Five mammal species and four species of birds are threatened. Threatened species include the European bison, marsh snail, and Russian desman.

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