Latvia is located on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, bordering Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, and Belarus. Latvia's government became a parliamentary democracy after it gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Latvia has since reduced its trade dependency on Russia, and the majority of Latvia's trading is currently with member countries of the European Union (EU). Latvia joined the EU in May 2004. Since 1993 Latvia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita has grown each year at an average rate of 5.7 percent per year.

The state of the environment in Latvia has been in transition since independence. There was significant industrial decline after the fall of the Soviet Union, as much of Latvia's economy shifted to the service sector. A result was ...

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