Choki Wangmo

Bhutan is ranked 107th out of 180 countries in the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2020, an increase of 24 places in two years, according to a new analysis by Yale and Columbia universities.

In the South Asian region, Bhutan has ranked first followed by Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. 

This year’s EPI provides a data-driven summary of the state of sustainability around the world.


The EPI ranks countries using 32 performance indicators across 11 issue categories and two policy objectives— environmental health and ecosystem vitality. It features new metrics that gauge waste management, carbon dioxide emissions from land cover change, and emissions of fluorinated gases –important drivers of climate change.

Denmark topped the list with 82.5 percent and Liberia at 180th with 22.6 percent. Bhutan has scored 39.3 percent.

While the country’s performance in ecosystem vitality was one of the best in the region along with solid waste management, the performance was poor in issue categories such as air quality, sanitation and drinking water and heavy metals. 

Within 10 years, Bhutan marked vast change in protected areas representativeness index, grassland loss and methane gas growth rate. The large decrease was observed in Carbon dioxide, greenhouse gas intensity and Sulphur dioxide growth rate. 

Meanwhile, India, with notably poor health outcomes from air quality and other environmental risks, comes in near the bottom of the rankings. The report stated that the air quality continues to plague China, although its recent pollution control and other environmental investments have helped it climb to 120th place, 48 places ahead of India’s 168th ranking.

The lowest scores of the report are those countries like Liberia, Myanmar, and Afghanistan struggling with weak governance. “Low EPI scores suggest a need for national sustainability efforts on a number of fronts, including air and water pollution, biodiversity protection, and the transition to a clean energy future.”

The highest-ranked country stands out in solid waste management, with all of nation’s waste being recycled, composted, or incinerated. Denmark, for instance, leads the world in its programmes to tackle climate change, including a recently announced target of cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent by 2030.

Since 2006, the EPI is released biannually by the Yale Centre for Environmental Law and Policy and the Centre for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University. 

The results were declared on the world environment day, June 5.