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ONE OF THE former constituent states of the Soviet Union, the Republic of Belarus gained its independence in 1991. It has a land area of 80,155 sq. mi. (207,600 sq. km.), a population of 9,724,723 (2007 est.), and a population density of 127 people per sq. mi. (49 people per sq. km.). Although 29 percent of the land is arable, and a further 15 percent has been used for meadow or pasture, the nearby Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine has contaminated some of the agricultural land in Belarus.

Suffering heavily from pollution during the Communist period, including the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, Belarus has managed, since independence, to significantly reduce its per capita carbon dioxide emissions from 92 metric tons per person in ...

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