Croatia ranked 20th on list of world's cleanest countries

WASHINGTON, 18.4.2009.

The US magazine Forbes on Saturday published a list of the world's cleanest countries, ranked according to an index developed by Columbia and Yale Universities, with Croatia ranking 20th on the global scale and first in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

With an Environmental Performance Index (EPI) score of 84.6 out of 100, Croatia takes 20th place on the list of the cleanest countries, which is topped by Switzerland and Scandinavian countries. Fourteen European countries are among the 20 cleanest.

"Croatia recognizes the value of tourism and makes clean beaches a priority. The country, which lies across the Adriatic Sea from Italy, offers visitors ample, healthy fishing stocks and freedom from waterborne disease. But the legacy of decades of communist rule endures: Soviet-era industry pumps out greenhouse gasses and particulates, causing the country's air quality to suffer. Croatia's overall biodiversity index score is just 14, vs. a still-weak 34.8 for the region," reads the Forbes article "The World's Cleanest Countries".

Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network and Yale University's Center for Environmental Law and Policy developed the index to highlight the cleanest countries, and give laggards the opportunity to benchmark efforts to improve their own environments and the health of their citizens.

Switzerland tops the list with an EPI score of 95.5. It is followed by Sweden and Norway with a score of 93.1. The non-EU countries in the top 20 are Costa Rica (5), New Zealand (7) and Colombia (9).

Europe scores consistently well in EPI's environmental health ranking, which measures the effects of pollution on human health.

A second broad measure, ecosystem vitality, measures the health of fisheries, the amount of greenhouse gases a country pumps into the air and how well it preserves the diversity of its plants and animals.

EPI researchers caution that the information used to develop the scale often comes from local sources and can be of less-than-ideal quality, especially in developing countries. They ranked 149 countries, and left the remaining 50 or so off the list for insufficient data, reads the Forbes article.