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Poland Geography

    Location: Central Europe, east of Germany

    Geographic coordinates: 52 00 N, 20 00 E

    Map references: Europe

    Area:
    total: 312,683 sq km
    land: 304,510 sq km
    water: 8,173 sq km

    Area—comparative: slightly smaller than New Mexico

    Land boundaries:
    total: 2,888 km
    border countries: Belarus 605 km, Czech Republic 658 km, Germany 456 km, Lithuania 91 km, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) 206 km, Slovakia 444 km, Ukraine 428 km

    Coastline: 491 km

    Maritime claims:
    exclusive economic zone: defined by international treaties
    territorial sea: 12 nm

    Climate: temperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters with frequent precipitation; mild summers with frequent showers and thundershowers

    Terrain: mostly flat plain; mountains along southern border

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Raczki Elblaskie -2 m
    highest point: Rysy 2,499 m

    Natural resources: coal, sulfur, copper, natural gas, silver, lead, salt

    Land use:
    arable land: 47%
    permanent crops: 1%
    permanent pastures: 13%
    forests and woodland: 29%
    other: 10% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: 1,000 sq km (1993 est.)

    Natural hazards: NA

    Environment—current issues: situation has improved since 1989 due to decline in heavy industry and increased environmental concern by postcommunist governments; air pollution nonetheless remains serious because of sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, and the resulting acid rain has caused forest damage; water pollution from industrial and municipal sources is also a problem, as is disposal of hazardous wastes

    Environment—international agreements:
    party to: Air Pollution, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

    Geography—note: historically, an area of conflict because of flat terrain and the lack of natural barriers on the North European Plain

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)