Costa Rica’s environmental issues

   IMG_2991Country of numerous possibilities attracts tourists from around the world for its perfectly pure nature, white sand and clear sea. At first I have to tell you a little more about this beautiful country.

Republic of Costa Rica is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. In case of population and and country area, it is really similar to Slovakia. It has a population of around 4.5 million, of whom nearly a quarter live in the metropolitan area of the capital and largest city, San José.

IMG_2878Here we are, our similarities (population and area!) are already exhausted. Costa Rica and Slovakia are diametrically opposed. I mean the temperament of the people, customs, habits, nature, economy, gastronomy, cities, etc. We could go on forever. I could say that we should not even try to compare these countries, because it is a never ending story 🙂 Costa Rica hides in its interior many natural beauties that even in Europe could not be found. On the other hand cities are in most cases quite dirty and rather not mention the capital that you should not have to opted for another vacation destination after reading my paper (Costa Rica ranks among one of the safest countries in Central America, but we should not forget that it is compared with those countries such as Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras (one of the most dangerous countries in the world). But for your safety in Costa Rica do not worry at all, but you will definitely interesting attraction for local thieves.

People in Costa Rica are simple, who care especially for the family. No smile never leaves them. At least not in public. The family is the foundation of everything. There is no cousins ​​of the thirty-eighth knees . They are all equally equal cousins ​​and aunts. Periodically the whole, and it really whole family meets at various celebrations, where they can not miss a ton of food and drink. The most people are less load on material values ​​and appreciate the simple things. It is not necessary to have the most luxurious condominium, the latest car… Unfortunately, sometimes even the houses are ruined. However, modesty in these people was like a fresh breeze in this materialistic world where nobody looks behind how many of corpses he left behind.

Costa Rica is home to a rich variety of plants and animals. While the country has only about 0.1% of the world’s landmass, it contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity. Around 25% of the country’s land area is in protected national parks and protected areas. The largest percentage of protected areas in the world (developing world average 13%, developed world average 8%). Costa Rica has successfully managed to diminish deforestation from some of the worst rates in the world from 1973 to 1989, to almost zero by 2005. In 2007, the Costa Rican government announced plans for Costa Rica to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021. In 2012, it became the first country in the Americas to ban recreational hunting.

Environmental awards

IMG_2828Costa Rica was in October 2010 named as the winner of the 2010 Future Policy award at a global summit on biodiversity in Nagoya in Japan.

The Central American country aims to be the first developing nation to meet UN biodiversity commitments. The prize, issued by the World Future Council, was given in recognition of the country’s 1998 biodiversity law, which was held up as a model for other nations to follow.

Costa Rica channels funds from a fuel tax, car stamp duty and energy fees to pay for nature reserve management and environmental services like clean air, fresh water and biodiversity protection.

It has also established a national commission on biodiversity, comprising scientists, civil servants and indigenous representatives, which proposes policies to the government and promotes green education among the public.

Partly as a result, Costa Rica ranks third in the global Environmental Performance index and first in the Happy Planet index.

Environmental issues Costa Rica faces

Yes everything above is really nice, however decades of unplanned population growth and urbanization had turned a Central American river into one of the most polluted in the region, with untreated waste water and garbage being dumped directly into it every day as it flowed to the sea. Costa Rica faces several different environmental issues.

The problem of pollution is very serious, but it is not irreversible. There is the lack of waste-water treatment and adequate trash-disposal facilities in the metropolitan area of San José.

Like other Central and South American countries, Costa Rica has been heavily deforested. However, most agree that Costa Ricans have responded the most vigorously of any other people in the world to threats to their natural patrimony. Today the landowners are also paid to preserve old-growth forests and to plant new trees. As a result, forest cover has fortunately risen from 24% in 1985 to close to 46% today.

Pressure to clear away the country’s forests come from loggers, ranchers, and large-scale commercial agricultural ventures. The highlands, favored for production of coffee and tea, and the Pacific lowlands, with their beef and cotton industries, are especially threatened. During the 1960s large tracts of virgin forests were cleared to make way for cattle.

During the 1970s, the government responded by clamping down on the export of more than 60 species of trees, and began requiring permits for timbering. In 1993 it established a commission to thoroughly study and prescribe remedies for the country’s growing environmental problems.

IMG_2813Today about 27 percent of the country is under some form of protection – the most of any country in the world – including almost 12 percent of the land designated as national parks. Other areas are set aside as forest and Indian reserves, wildlife refuges, and buffer zones.

Costa Rica stands as the most visited nation in the Central American region, with 2.4 million foreign visitors in 2013, followed by Panama with almost 1.5 million visitors. International tourist receipts rose to US$2.4 billion in 2012. Tourism now earns more foreign exchange than bananas and coffee combined

Costa Rica was a true paradise of rest and peace and it should stay like that forever. And it is on us and them to keep it like this.

Andrej Laciak


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