- Thomson Reuters
Each year, Yale’s Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks 180 countries based on how well they’ve fared at protecting human health and vulnerable ecosystems.
The EPI creates the index by giving each country a score out of 100 that’s based on a number of specific metrics. The individual scores are averaged for each country to create the rankings.
The worst offending countries all share a few common traits. They are mostly impoverished and torn apart by conflict and have ongoing problems with drought and environmental degradation.
No. 180. Somalia: 27.66
- REUTERS/Feisal Omar
Somalia was the lowest-scoring country on the EPI for a good reason: The country has been mired in a decades-long conflict. Warring factions, like the terrorist group Al Shabaab, are constantly jostling for control.
It ranks 168th in health impacts, 176th in water and sanitation, 100th in fisheries, and 179th in biodiversity and habitat protection.
The lack of firm authority has allowed piracy to flourish, and Somalia’s unregulated fishery has decimated fish stocks along its coast. Many Somali also lack access to clean water and safe sanitation.
No. 179. Eritrea: 36.73
- REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya
It ranks 160th in health impacts, 105th in air quality, 168th in water and sanitation, and 165th in biodiversity and habitat.
Conflict is also an ongoing problem in Eritrea, and its army is often involved in border skirmishes with neighboring Ethiopia and Djibouti.
But Eritrea is also rich in mineral resources, and the government hopes to build the economy through the mining sector.
No. 178. Madagascar: 37.10
- REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya
It ranks 178th on health impacts, 177th in water and sanitation, 130th in air quality, and 132nd in biodiversity and habitat.
Despite Madagascar’s low rank, it scored 20th on agriculture, likely because most Malagasies farm through traditional methods.
No. 177. Niger: 37.48
- REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye
It ranks 180th in health impacts, 179th in water and sanitation, 168th in water resources, and 159th in air quality.
Niger’s sanitation problems are widespread, and many in rural areas lack access to toilets and clean drinking water.
But the country is making progress. Over the past 20 years, Niger’s farmers have planted and maintained over 200 million new trees in an effort to combat desertification.
No. 176. Afghanistan: 37.50
- REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
It ranks 161st for water and sanitation, 139th for health impacts, and 178th for biodiversity and habitat.
Deforestation continues to be an ongoing problem in Afghanistan, as many impoverished Afghans rely on wood stoves to heat their homes during the brutal winters. As well, nearly one-third of all Afghans lack adequate nutrition.