The maps, which show air and water pollution, green accounting, threats to biodiversity, natural resources and water supply, have been produced as a result of a collaborative study between the World Bank’s Development Research Group, the Environment Department and World Bank Institute. However, the Bank’s team admits that there has only been limited information available to them, and so has designed the project in order to elicit debate and highlight areas of concern. It is expected that the scope of the maps will increase as new information becomes available.

For example, with regards to air pollution, the countries causing the greatest alarm are India, Afghanistan, Sudan, Bolivia and China, with the least air pollution being emitted in Libya, Gabon, Scandinavia, Ireland and Iceland. The greatest threats to natural resources are occurring in Libya, Egypt, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Turkmenistan and Bhutan. The worst offenders on water pollution are Afghanistan, Pakistan, Cambodia, Laos, and much of Central and Western Africa, with the least offending countries being the highly developed nations of USA, Canada, Australia, Scandinavia and Western Europe.

With regard to the World Bank’s response to environmental threats, one example is that of biodiversity, where the Bank has given the most assistance for its preservation to countries such as Kenya, South Africa, China, India and Brazil.

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