The closest is New Zealand at number 11.
In the top ten of the greenest countries in the world today, there is not one English speaking country. The largest English language country in the world, the United States, does not even appear in the top 20. The Donald Trump / Right-wing Evangelical Republican factor could be one of the reasons.
Depending on what the source is, the following is a recent list that could have changed by the time of publication.
At the top of the eco-chart is Iceland, a country that takes its environment very seriously and invests heavily in sustainability. Rated as one of the greenest countries in the world, it has been at the forefront with a growing number of programs that are eco-friendly. The country rates on the Environmental Performance Index with a score of 93.5.
The government's focus is on the production of electricity and heat by utilizing Iceland’s geothermal resources. There have been many programs implemented in the fight against ocean pollution. Government priority is to ensure waters are kept clean and fishing is done while protecting the environment.
With an Environmental Protection index of 89.1, Switzerland has many measures to ensure the environment is kept sustainable. The government has focused on the protection of natural resources by using renewable energy and providing incentives to businesses to grow a green economy.
Swiss laws protect farmlands and encourage development to prevent them from being used for infrastructural expansion. Incentives are in place for business and landowners across the country encouraging the country’s natural environment.
Costa Rica is known for its green and diverse scenery and landscapes. The country rates an Environmental Protection Index of 86.4. The government has in place strict measures to negate air and water pollution. The goal is to achieve a carbon-neutral environment by the year 2021.
Much use is made of renewable energy to keep greenhouse gases to very low levels. The government is planning to be the first carbon-neutral country in the world. As well as being one of the greenest countries, Costa Rica is also stable with a high satisfaction factor by Costa Ricans.
The home of Greta Thunberg is listed at number 4 with an Environmental Protection Index of 86.0. By the year 2020, the government plans on eradicating the use of fossil fuels completely. Government, industry and the population have embraced renewable energy with a countrywide commitment to a natural environment, free from pollution.
Renewable energy is the cornerstone of reducing C02. A very important forward-looking action plan is the partnership between Sweden and its neighboring countries with a joint country agreement to protect the Baltic Sea ecosystem. The environmental movement in Sweden is amongst the most progressive in the world and contributes to the fact that Sweden is on target with its sustainability plan.
Norway has an Environmental Protection Index of 81.1. The country has ensured its residential and commercial facilities limit greenhouse gases with the longterm plan of carbon neutrality. Like other Nordic countries, Norway uses incentives to encourage consumers and industry to use renewable sources of energy keeping the rate of pollution and carbon production to levels that are the envy of many countries.
Norway has many sustainable development strategies and environmental laws to reduce carbon emissions to be carbon neutral by 2030. Government incentives encourage Norwegians to relate to nature. School children from a young age are taught about nature and protecting the environment.
A small island country off the coast of Africa, Mauritius has worked very hard through incentives and government regulations to keep its environment green. With an Environmental Performance Index of 80.6 and being a small island country, Mauritius has had to work very hard to protect its ports and surrounding ocean. The government working with environmental groups have instituted laws and protection acts that reduce the rate of pollution and encourage environmental protection.
President Nicholas Sarkozy played a major role in turning France into one of the greenest countries in the world. His government’s legislation that made it mandatory for all of France to partake in making the country eco-friendly and to conserve energy has been a success. France’s Environmental Protection Index is 78.2 and with the country blessed with very fertile farmlands, reducing pollution and carbon neutrality is very important.
France has less industry than many of its neighbors and as such has reduced levels of air pollution. Government and industry have been working on deindustrialization, a movement that has seen the environmental state of the country improve. Water pollution has been reduced significantly and the country has introduced legislation to change its resource usage and methods of production to conserve the environment and increase sustainability.
Austria has an Environmental performance Index of 78.1. It is planning on improving its rating by working to maintain the country’s natural resources and the overall environment. The government, working with environmental groups, is well on the way to placing Austria’s environmental protection on its social and economic policy agendas.
Plans are well underway to improve waste management and control chemical emissions to prevent pollutants from impacting the environment. Farmers, using government incentives are incorporating ecological knowledge in their agriculture to increase output naturally. Greater restrictions on the use of pesticides have been also implemented. Measures have been put into place to protect forests and reduce deforestation.
Cuba is ranked as one of the greenest in the world with an Environmental Protection Index of 78.1. The government has worked hard at protecting the environment by reducing the use of pesticides on farmland. Being a small island nation with tourism as one of its main sources of revenue, the protection of the ocean and coastline registers high on the country’s green scale.
Environmental awareness is taught in schools. Children and families are encouraged to embrace sustainability and to keep the country green.
Colombia is a country of tropical rainforests and deserts. It has an Environmental Performance Index of 76.8 and is ranked number 10 amongst the greenest countries in the world. The country has a diverse ecosystem with thousands of bird and animal species. The government has created policies and regulations that have equally been set up to protect the environment and preserve its biodiversity.
The Columbian government has in the past been accused of policies that have caused some degradation of the country’s natural environment. However, later reports indicate new laws have now been implemented that favor the sustainability of the environment and that encourage industry to join in the greening movement.
But what are the most polluted countries?
Identifying them is a little more problematic. The World Health Organisation tracks air quality at 1,622 locations in 92 countries — but all are urban areas. So while India, Pakistan, Egypt, Russia, China, and Mongolia are among the most polluted countries according to WHO, this only refers to the pollution in its cities.