Bangladesh is the fourth worst country in curbing environmental pollution, according to this year's Environmental Performance Index (EPI).
The country is ranked the 177th in a list of 180 nations that were judged for their national efforts to protect environmental health, enhance ecosystem vitality, and mitigate climate change. Bangladesh scored 23.1 out of 100.
In the 2020 EPI, Bangladesh was ranked in a better position, but these two versions are not comparable as some changes have been made to the indicators and calculation methods.
This year, India has emerged as the worst performer with a score of 18.9, followed by Myanmar with 19.4, and Vietnam with 20.1. Another South Asian neighbour, Pakistan is ranked the 176th on the list with a score of 24.6.
Most low-scoring countries are the ones that have prioritised economic growth over sustainability, or ones that are struggling with civil unrest and other crises, says the report.
On the other hand, Denmark has emerged as the most sustainable country in the world holding the top position since 2020. Afghanistan is ranked 1st in the South Asia region and 81st in the world.
Bhutan (85th) and the Maldives (113th) are among the top three countries in South Asia, followed by Sri Lanka (132nd), Nepal (162nd), Pakistan (176th), Bangladesh (177th), and India (180th).
The EPI ranking is a biennial report of national results on a range of sustainability indicators produced by Yale and Columbia University researchers. It quantifies and numerically ranks the environmental performance of a country based on the three broad issues of ecosystem vitality, health, and climate policy.
The 2022 EPI provides a data-driven summary of the state of sustainability around the world. Using 40 performance indicators across 11 issue categories, the EPI ranks 180 countries on climate change performance, environmental health, and ecosystem vitality.
Bangladesh performed poorly in the top-weighted categories, such as Climate Policy (171), Health (166), Air Quality (173), and Waste Management (160).
But it performed better than the global average in fisheries (20), species habitat index (38), and pesticides (72), which are less weighted in deciding the EPI score as well as ranking.
The report highlighted that Bangladesh has seen the three largest increases in marine-protected areas, grassland loss, and heavy metals, while it has seen the three largest decreases in wetlands loss, CO2 from land cover, and SO2 growth rate over the past decade.
The latest EPI ranking introduced recycling rates and ocean plastic pollution for the first time, in which Bangladesh scored only 15.70 and 14.60, respectively.
Zero greenhouse gas emission
Recognising the urgency of the threat of climate change, world leaders pledged at the 26th Conference of Parties in November 2021 to put their countries on track for net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by mid-century.
The 2022 EPI includes a new metric based on recent GHG emissions trends to project how close countries will be to the net-zero target in 2050.
The findings show that only a handful of countries, including Denmark and the United Kingdom, are currently slated to meet the net-zero GHG commitment.
China, that is ranked the 161st, and India are projected to be the largest and second-largest emitters of greenhouse gases in 2050, despite recently promising to curb emissions growth rates.