chapter  5
15 Pages

Old and New in the Environmental Policy of the Former Soviet Union What Has Already Occurred and What Is To Be Done

Under the communist system, the degradation of the environment reached an extreme due to the implementation of the extensive economic growth model. Almost the entire map of the former USSR is covered by dark spots representing ecological crises or disasters. Altogether these represent about one hundred regions covering 3.7 million square kilometers, or 16 percent of the whole territory of the former USSR.1 Given the size of the country and the scale of its industry (third in the world in terms of gross national product), it has had a significant impact on the global environment, depleting the world's natural resources and poisoning the environment with radioactive wastes.