No major improvement in Czech environment

The environment in the Czech Republic remained unchanged in 2016, despite continuous economic and industrial growth, suggests the annual report on the state of Czech environment, which was debated by the government this week. The report also points out that despite growing public funding on environment protection, there have been no significant improvements.

Illustrative photo: Guillaume NarguetIllustrative photo: Guillaume Narguet According to the Minister of Environment, Richard Brabec, the fact that the state of the environment has not worsened despite increasing industrial production is an overall positive message.

At the same time he points out that it is necessary to intensify the care of the quality of the country’s air, water and landscape.

Jiří Koželouh is the programme director of the NGO friends of the Earth:

“For the past 16 years the amount of dust and aerosols in the air has dropped by about 30 percent, while the economy has grown a lot since then. So this is good news.

“At the same time, we have quite a lot of negative points concerning the state of the environment. For example 60 percent of people still live in areas where air pollution limits are exceeded and for example we still have only about 35 percent of municipal waste recycled.”

Jiří Koželouh, photo: Jana PřinosilováJiří Koželouh, photo: Jana Přinosilová One of the continuous negative trends in the Czech Republic as well as elsewhere in Europe is the decline of common bird population, which is caused mainly by diminishing biodiversity and modern intensive farming methods.

Since 1982, the number of forest bird species living in the Czech Republic dropped by nearly 15 percent, while the number of farmland bird species plummeted by more than 33 percent. But the report has also highlighted more recent issues. Jiří Koželouh again:

“One of the new issues highlighted in the report is pollution of water in the Czech Republic because of pesticides in the ground water. Currently, about 30 percent of the country’s ground water is polluted.

So it is a growing problem for the Czech landscape and for Czech people. I would say it is quite critical.”

Illustrative photo: Thomas Huntke, CC BY-SA 3.0 DEIllustrative photo: Thomas Huntke, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE Among the positive developments highlighted by the annual report on Czech environment is the increase of perennial grasses and a slight increase of ecological farming.

Last year, public spending on protection of the environment dropped by about 14 percent to 82.6 billion crowns, but in the long run, state expenditures on environment protection have been increasing.

Despite the positive trend, there has been no major improvement in the quality of environment. Jiří Koželouh of Friends of the Earth says this is caused by inefficient legislation as well as an ineffective drawing of EU subsidies.