Hungary has made great strides in improving its envornmental performance over recent years, even if there is still some way to go, according to the European Commission's Environmental Implementation Report.
The EC said that in spite of the country’s continued efforts to preserve its rich natural heritage, undeveloped waste management and an inadequate water management infrastructure are causes for concern.
According to MTI, the report cited floods as the biggest environmental problem along the Danube and Tisza rivers, while air pollution was named the main challenge in Budapest and other parts of the country.
The EC pointed out that the emission of several air pollutants has decreased significantly over the past years in Hungary, but poor air quality remains a concern. Citing data from the European Environment Agency, the report said more than 12,890 people had died from high concentrations of fine particulate matter in 2013. It also cited estimates saying that annual health-related external costs from air pollution in Hungary exceed 5 billion euros.
The report said Hungary was also having a hard time meeting the EU’s waste targets, acknowledging, at the same time, that municipal waste generation in 2014 had been below the EU average.
The EC ranked Hungary 18th on the Eco-innovation scoreboard, below the EU average, but said it had made a significant jump from the 23rd place it occupied two years earlier.
The Commission also said Hungary was among the best in the EU with regard to signing and ratifying international environmental agreements.