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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: 312,685 sq km
water: 8,220 sq km
land: 304,465 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than New Mexico
Land boundaries:
total: 2,788 km
border countries: Belarus 407 km, Czech Republic 658 km, Germany 456 km, Lithuania 91 km, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) 206 km, Slovakia 444 km, Ukraine 526 km
Coastline:
491 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: defined by international treaties
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: near Raczki Elblaskie -2 m
highest point: Rysy 2,499 m
Natural resources:
coal, sulfur, copper, natural gas, silver, lead, salt, amber, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 45.91%
permanent crops: 1.12%
other: 52.97% (2001)
Irrigated land:
1,000 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
flooding
Environment - current issues:
situation has improved since 1989 due to decline in heavy industry and increased environmental concern by post-Communist 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; pollution levels should continue to decrease as industrial establishments bring their facilities up to European Union code, but at substantial cost to business and the government
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94
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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