As seen by most tourists, the Czech Republic consists of pretty towns and rolling countryside under clear skies. In fact, parts of the republic are among the most highly polluted corners of the world.
The origins of the problem of course go back to the Industrial Revolution
, but its seriousness is the result of the single-minded industrial-development policies of successive Communist government. One 1980's story that indicates the level of environmental awareness at that time is of a worker awarded a labor medal for saving electricity. His secret? He figured that since no one sees factory smoke at night, the trick was to operate the plant's smokestack filters only during the day. Roughly 50% of fresh water
is contaminated, and many Czechs, especially in cities, avoid drinking tap water. Raw sewage is often unofficially dumped into waterways, by private citizens as well as factories. Some 60% of the republic's forests are said to be affected by pollution in one way or another, chiefly by acid rain.
Mountains surround the country, the center is flatter and the borders are usually found in the middle of forests. The Czech Republic is one of the few countries that still have real forests, though a lot of them are affected by pollution, especially in the north and northwest. There are two national parks (Sumava and Krkonose) and several state protected areas, in which unspoiled countryside can be found.
Nature Attractions: Lednice-Valtice Area, Palava, Moravian Karst, Czech Paradise, Elbe Sandstones