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Bulgaria adopted the Kyoto Protocol and achieved the protocol's objectives by reducing carbon dioxide emissions from 1990 to 2009 by 30 per cent. However, pollution from factories and metallurgy works and severe deforestation continue to cause major problems to the health and welfare of the population. Urban areas are particularly affected by energy production from coal-based powerplants and automobile traffic, while pesticide usage in the agriculture and antiquated industrial sewage systems produce extensive soil and water pollution with chemicals and detergents. Bulgaria is the only EU member which does not recycle municipal waste, although an electronic waste recycling plant opened in June 2010. The situation has improved in recent years, and several government-funded programmes have been put into place in an attempt to reduce pollution levels. According to Yale University's 2012 Environmental Performance Index, Bulgaria is a "modest performer" in protecting the environment.

Bulgaria's biodiversity is conserved in three national parks, 11 nature parks and 17 biosphere reserves. Nearly 35 per cent of its land area consists of forests, where some of the oldest trees in the world, such as Baikushev's Pine and the Granit oak, grow. Its flora encompass more than 3,800 species of which 170 are endemic and 150 are considered endangered. The fauna is represented prominently by the brown bear and the jackal, while the Eurasian lynx and the Eastern imperial eagle have small, but growing populations.
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August 11, 2012
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