KATHMANDU, Jan 24: While the government has failed to tackle increasing air pollution, Nepal stands the fifth worst country in the world in curbing air pollution, according to Environmental Performance Index (EPI)’s latest rankings. Nepal ranked 176 out of 180 countries.
The EPI rankings were published on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos on Tuesday. Nepal comes in near the bottom of the rankings just above India and Bangladesh with Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Low scores on the EPI are indicative of the need for national sustainability efforts on a number of fronts, especially cleaning up air quality, protecting biodiversity, and reducing GHG emissions, the report suggests.
The report adds that some of the lowest-ranking nations face broader challenges, such as civil unrest, but the low scores for others can be attributed to weak governance.
Switzerland leads the world in sustainability, followed by France, Denmark, Malta, and Sweden. Switzerland’s top ranking reflects strong performance across most issues, especially air quality and climate protection. In general, high scorers exhibit long-standing commitments to protecting public health, preserving natural resources, and decoupling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from economic activity. Meanwhile, the United States made it to the 27th rank with strong scores on some issues, such as sanitation and air quality, but weak performance on others, including deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.
Of the emerging economies, China and India rank 120th and 177th respectively, reflecting the strain population pressures and rapid economic growth impose on the environment, note the researchers.
Seychelles ranks as the most-improved country over the past decade, due largely to its commitment to combating greenhouse gas emissions. São Tomé and Príncipe, Kuwait, and Timor-Leste also increased their ranking due to several factors, including the establishment of areas protecting biodiversity and habitat. Burundi, Central African Republic, Madagascar, the Bahamas, and Latvia slipped significantly in environmental performance, largely due to subpar performance on climate change.
EPI ranking is a bi-annual report produced by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. To formulate EPI, several key factors are taken into consideration. A total of 24 indicators were evaluated and grouped into ten issues: air quality, water and sanitation, heavy metals, biodiversity and habitat, forests, fisheries, climate and energy, air pollution, water resources, and agriculture.