The environment – correct answers for some difficult questions
People hiking through the almost endless woods and deserted areas in Estonia will find themselves in a nature of unimaginable beauty.
Large national parks and nature reserves contribute to a preservation of this beautiful landscape. Furthermore, Estonia has established a reforestation program so that the country’s wooded area grows by one percent a year. Much work is done – environmental awareness is the ideal reaction to mistakes made in the past.
A visitor to the country full of unspoilt forests and wetlands is unable to imagine the serious damage the Soviet command economy did to the environment of Estonia. The pollution of ground water and air, caused by industry, is still blemishing the beautiful visage of Estonia.
The industrial town of Kohtla-Järve situated in the north east of Estonia is one example. By burning oil shale layers to get energy, the industry near the town produces aggressive sulphur dioxide and other gases containing heavy metal. This is a disaster from an environmental point of view but still convenient for the energy industry.
An example like this shows clearly how difficult it is to care about environmental protection and at the same time provide proper conditions for enterprises especially in a rising economy like the Estonian.
There is still not enough money for extensive modernisation or even the complete abandonment of old industrial methods. Thus, some years will have to pass until these unattractive by-products will vanish from the Estonian landscape.
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