Iceland – The Cleanest Country in the World

The eruption of the volcano underneath the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland wreaked havoc in much of Europe and eastern North America after volcanic ashes grounded flights for several days. Because of that, angry travellers and business people blame Iceland for interruption in flights’ service and see Iceland as atmosphere polluter. This is definitely an extremely unfair and incorrect assumption as Iceland has been and still is the cleanest country in the world.

Researchers from Columbia and Yale Universities put 163 countries through their Environmental Performance Index test and Iceland ranked first proving that despite volcanic disruption, Iceland is the cleanest country in the world.

Environmental Performance Index takes into account 25 different indicators, including quality of air, quality of water, greenhouse gas emissions, health of the population and how it is impacted by the environment, and much more.

Maximum attainable score on the Environmental Performance Index is 100 and Iceland scored 93.5 mainly thanks to its super clean water which comes out of the tap cleaner than what you would get out of a bottle of some of world’s most expensive mineral waters, great national health care system, amplitude of protected nature areas and effective harvesting of clean, environmentally friendly geothermal energy.

For comparison, the US ranked in the middle of the Environmental Performance Index scoring 63.4 points but if it wasn’t was widely available, safe drinking water, it would have been far worse. Canada ranked 46th on the list scoring 66.4 points. The lowest ranking country with the total score of 32 points was Sierra Leone.

Daniel Esty, a professor of environmental law at Yale University who heads up the Environmental Performance Index maintains that eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano will not affect Iceland’s rating for 2012. According to his words, Environmental Performance Index measures how governments are performing in relation to environmental policy goals, how government secures access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation, how natural habitats are protected and emissions controlled. As such, Environmental Performance Index only considers the amount of sulphur dioxide released to the atmosphere by humans burning fossil fuels, not by what is released by nature.

Congratulations to Iceland for being the cleanest country in the world.

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