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By John J. Langwick

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Indeed, after decades of Communist rule, large areas of Page 22 the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe have been reduced to ecological wastelands. 13 There's worry in Western Europe, too, where pollution from the east is killing forests and poisoning the Baltic Sea. Of the $365 million the European Commission pledged to Poland and Hungary in 1990, up to 20 percent is earmarked for the environment. Denmark's parliament just voted $75 million in ecological aid for Eastern Europe, and Sweden is giving an additional $180 million.

Poland's natural resources are comprised of coal, sulfur, copper, natural gas, silver, lead and salt. It has ample arable land for agricultural crops with areas of timber and woodlands. The economy is primarily agricultural with 75 percent of production from the private sector, the balance from state farms. Industrial development has been made on the Soviet model and held in the public sector. The programs to privatize the industrial sector have caused large but expected drops in production, unemployment and increased dissatisfaction with newly won freedoms and independence.

This shortfall will make it doubly hard to repair the region's economy. The World Bank estimates that 10 percent of Poland's gross national product is lost because of illness and industry's inability to use polluted water. "For years, experts have said that environmental degradation ultimately affects economic growth," says Thierry Baudon, the World Bank's chief environment official for Europe. "14 Yet one of the big environmental problems facing each of the Eastern European countries will be the cleanup of the former Soviet military installations, which dot the entire region with hundreds of sites.

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