From Iceland — New UNICEF Report Exposes Iceland's Negative Environmental Impacts

New UNICEF Report Exposes Iceland’s Negative Environmental Impacts

Published May 25, 2022

Photo by
Bjarki Sigursveinsson/Wikimedia Commons

Iceland ranks 32nd in the “World At Large” category of UNICEF’s “Places and Spaces: Environments and children’s well-being” report published on May 24.

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The report examines environmental conditions that impact children’s well-being in the 39 richest countries. The rankings are divided into three categories: the world of the child, the world around the child, and the world at large. Iceland ranks third, first, and 32nd respectively, for an overall ranking of seventh.

Iceland’s high rankings in the first two categories indicate children in Iceland have high access to quality air, water, food, housing, and safety. However, Iceland’s low ranking in the third category indicates Iceland is lacking in successful and meaningful environmental policy.

Iceland produces large amounts of solid waste, electronic waste, and CO2 emissions. 71% of household emissions in Iceland can be attributed to imports, displacing Iceland’s CO2 emissions onto low and middle income countries. Iceland is ranked in the middle for government expenditure for environmental protection.

“[Iceland is] also, through our consumption, putting the health and safety of children in other parts of the world at risk.”

“What stands out in this report is that, at a time when Iceland is one of the best countries in the world at providing health and safety for the children who live here, we are also, through our consumption, putting the health and safety of children in other parts of the world at risk,” says Birna Þórarinsdóttir, UNICEF Iceland’s Executive Director.

Iceland presently provides an exceptional environment for children’s wellbeing, but the current environmental impacts Iceland has on the world will diminish the quality of life for future children. According to Birna, the report shows that “Iceland is the best in the world, but not the best for the world.”

Access the UNICEF report here.

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