Zambia Environment - 2021


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Environment - current issues

air pollution and resulting acid rain in the mineral extraction and refining region; chemical runoff into watersheds; loss of biodiversity; poaching seriously threatens rhinoceros, elephant, antelope, and large cat populations; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; lack of adequate water treatment presents human health risks

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 24.7 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 5.14 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 14.1 megatons (2020 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 290 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 130 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 1.152 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

104.8 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)


tropical; modified by altitude; rainy season (October to April)

Land use

agricultural land: 31.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 4.8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 26.9% (2018 est.)

forest: 66.3% (2018 est.)

other: 2% (2018 est.)

Revenue from forest resources

forest revenues: 4.45% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 15

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0.04% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 33


urban population: 45.2% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 4.15% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

Food insecurity

severe localized food insecurity: due to reduced incomes - the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have aggravated food insecurity across the country, particularly due to income reductions that have constrained households’ economic access to food; cereal production is estimated at a bumper high in 2021 and, as a result, overall food security is expected to improve compared to the previous year (2021)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 2,608,268 tons (2002 est.)

NOTE: The information regarding Zambia on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Zambia 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Zambia 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.