Bhutan 40th on environmental index
Bhutan was ranked 40th out of 163 countries in the 2010 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) produced by a team of environmental experts at Yale University and Columbia University in the US. Released yesterday at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Bhutan scored 68 on the EPI scores.
The EPI ranked countries on their performance across 25 metrics aggregated into 10 categories including environmental health, air quality, water resource management, biodiversity and habitat, forestry, fisheries, agriculture, and climate change. Bhutan scored more on biodiversity and habitat, air pollution effects on ecosystem, controlling nitrous oxide emissions, biome protection, forest cover, agricultural water intensity, climate change and sulfur dioxide emissions.
Bhutan, however, lost on water effects on human, agriculture, industrial carbon intensity, in indoor air pollution, marine protected areas, pesticide regulation and access to drinking water and sanitation. Iceland leads the world in addressing pollution control and natural resource management challenges.
Iceland’s top-notch performance was derived from its high scores on environmental public health, controlling greenhouse gas emissions, and reforestation. Other top performers include Switzerland, Costa Rica, Sweden, and Norway. Occupying the bottom five positions were Togo, Angola, Mauritania, the Central African Republic, and Sierra Leone.
China and India ranked 121st and 123rd respectively. China did better than Bhutan in access to water and sanitation, environmental burden of disease, water quality index and critical habitat protection. China performed weak in air pollution, ecosystem vitality, climate change, slufur dioxide emission and ozone exceedance.
India was last when it came to forest cover. It lost on ozone exceedance, electricity carbon intensity, access to sanitation, agriculture, environmental health and air pollution. India scored higher than Bhutan in critical habitat protection, marine protected areas, green house gas emission per capita and fisheries. The US was ranked 61 with strong results on some issues such as provision of safe drinking water and forest sustainability, and weak performance on other issues including greenhouse gas emissions and several aspects of local air pollution.
Other countries like Nepal ranked 38th, Maldives 49th and Sri Lanka 58th. The EPI builds on the best data available with indicators drawn from international organizations such as the World Bank, the UN Development Programme, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, as well as research groups such as the World Resources Institute and the University of British Columbia.
But many of these data sets are based on reporting by national governments that is not subject to any external review or verification. This was the third edition of EPI, which has been revisited biannually since 2006.