Geografie 1996, 101, 169-179

Environment in the Czech Republic: State of the Art and Recent Development Under Economic and Political Transition

Martin Braniš

Institut for Environmental Studies, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Benátská 2, 128 01 Praha 2, Czechia

Environmental protection in the Czech Republic has undergone crucial changes since 1989. The initial improvement of environmental quality, however, should be viewed to a great extent as a passive consequence of the inevitable economic restructuring. It is especially the case of chief airborne pollutants that were much reduced since coal mining and the use of fertilizers has been restricted. On the other hand the lower production and use of ozone-destructive chemicals as well as investments into desulphurization of plants are examples of environmental improvements by purpose. The transition towards market economy brings also some negative effects. The amount of municipal waste has risen and public transportation has lost its previous importance. In spite of current positive trends in the environmental protection this branch will require a lot of money. The share of environmental expenses on GDP in the Czech Republic is at the moment two to four times higher than in many EU countries.