Environment in Zambia Essay

Cheap Custom Writing Service

This Environment in Zambia Essay example is published for educational and informational purposes only. If you need a custom essay or research paper on this topic, please use our writing services. EssayEmpire.com offers reliable custom essay writing services that can help you to receive high grades and impress your professors with the quality of each essay or research paper you hand in.

Formerly a british colony known as Northern Rhodesia, the Republic of Zambia was created in 1964 after independence from Britain. Copper mining had long been the mainstay of the country’s economy, and price reductions in the 1980s and 1990s along with prolonged drought jeopardized the economy of the new country. Contested elections and political corruption threatened political stability until 2002 when an anticorruption campaign was initiated. By 2004 copper prices had recovered, and new mines had begun operation. Other resources with the potential for improving Zambia’s economy include: cobalt, zinc, lead, coal, emeralds, gold, silver, uranium, and hydropower.

Economic prosperity in Zambia is hampered by high foreign debt, made more complicated by restructuring through the International Monetary Fund, though multilateral agencies are working with the government to effectuate debt relief. With a per capita income of only $900, Zambia is the 17th-poorest country in the world. Eighty-six percent of the population lives in poverty and nearly half of Zambians are seriously undernourished. The richest 10 percent of the population hold 41 percent of the wealth, while the poorest segments share just over one percent of resources. Around eight percent of land area is arable, but 85 percent of the population are engaged in the agricultural sector, mostly at the subsistence level. Half of the workforce is unemployed. The United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Reports rank Zambia 166 of 232 countries on overall quality of life issues.

Zambia is landlocked but has 11,890 square kilometers of inland water resources. Land borders are shared with Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. The terrain of Zambia is made up of plateaus rising to isolated hills and mountains. Elevations range from 329 meters at the Zambezi River, which forms a riverine boundary with Zimbabwe, to 2,301 meters in the Mafinga Hills. The tropical climate is moderated by the rainy season between October and April. Zambia is subject to periodic droughts, and tropical storms are possible throughout much of the rainy season.

Zambia’s population of 11,502,010 is subject to major environmental health hazards. With one of the highest HIVIAIDS adult prevalence rates in the world (16.5 percent), 920,000 Zambians are living with the disease. Approximately 89,000 people have died with HIVIAIDS since 2003. Only 55 percent of the population has access to safe drinking water, and only 45 percent has access to improved sanitation. Consequently, Zambians have a very high risk of contracting food and waterborne diseases such as bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and the water contact disease schistosomiasis. In some areas, Zambians are at high risk for contracting malaria and plague. As a result of high incidences of disease, Zambians have a lower-than-normal life expectancy (40.03 years) and growth rate (2.11 percent), and higher-than-normal infant mortality (86.84 deaths per 1,000 live births) and death rates (19.93 deaths/1,000 population). The high fertility rate of 5.39 children per female presents health hazards for Zambian women.

Centuries of mineral extraction and refining have led to acid rain produced by air pollution. Despite the abundance of water sources, inadequate treatment facilities lead to major health threats to Zambians. Desertification is widespread. Around 42 percent of land area is forested, but deforestation is occurring at a rate of 2.4 percent per year. Soil erosion is extensive as a result of agricultural mismanagement.

The government has protected almost one-third of the land area, including 19 national parks and 31 game management areas. Nevertheless, watersheds contaminated by chemical runoff threaten rhinoceros, elephant, antelope, and large cat populations. The number of endangered species among the 233 mammals that inhabit Zambia is not known, but 11 of the 252 bird species are threatened. A 2006 study by scientists at Yale University ranked Zambia 98 of 132 countries on environmental performance, above the relevant income and geographic groups. The low ranking in environmental health, however, reduced Zambia’s overall ranking.

The Zambian Parliament enacted the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Act of 1990 to provide a framework for environmental policy. In 1992, the Environment Council of Zambia was created and charged with protecting the environment and health of the Zambian population and of animals and plants by controlling pollution and promoting sustainable development. Specific elements of Zambia’s environmental policy deal with controlling air pollution, managing water resources, regulating the use of pesticides and toxic substances, and conservation of natural resources. The Copperbelt Environmental Project was established to deal with the impact of copper mining on the environment.

Zambia participates in the following international agreements on the environment: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, and Wetlands. The government has signed but not ratified the Climate Change Kyoto Protocol.


  1. Central Intelligence Agency, “Zambia,” World Factbook, www.cia.gov;
  2. Timothy Doyle, Environmental Movements in Minority and Majority Worlds: A Global Perspective (Rutgers University Press, 2005);
  3. Kevin Hillstrom and Laurie Collier Hillstrom, Africa and the Middle East: A Continental Overview of Environmental Issues (ABCCLIO, 2003);
  4. Valentine Udoh James, Africa’s Ecology: Sustaining the Biological and Environmental Diversity of a Continent (McFarland, 1993);
  5. United Nations Development Programme, “Human Development Report: Zambia,” hdr.undp.org;
  6. World Bank, “Zambia,” lnweb18.worldbank.org (cited April 2006).

See also:


Always on-time


100% Confidentiality

Special offer!