Macedonia lies in the centre of the Balkan Peninsula, in between Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece. The small and beautiful country offers its visitors a unique blend of natural wonders, traditions and culture. The scenic landscape of its valleys, forested hills, mountains and numerous lakes (of which the tectonic Ohrid and Prespa lakes are the best known) is attracting more and more tourists each year.
- Air pollution in Macedonia is mainly derived from energy production and transformation, fuels combustion, heat production for industry and residential and administrative buildings heating. There is a significant lack of equipment and modern technology. Metallurgical plants in particular are well-known sources for air pollution. Furthermore, the traffic also claims a part of the blame, as the average age of vehicles in Macedonia is 15 years.
- Surface and ground waters are suffering from pollution. Waters are directly discharged without any treatment. Heavy metals were found in several rivers, as well as phosphorus and nitrates. Chemical industry, leather production, food production and metallurgic industry are all severe polluters of the water. The waste water inflow has caused eutrophication on Lake Ohrid. Macedonia is classified as a semi-arid area which makes the use, protection and conservation of water resources highly important. Although the country is fairly rich in water resources due to its great lakes Ohrid, Prespa and Dojran, it is considered to be water stressed. Furthermore, there are indications that agricultural production contributes to land based pollution such as sedimentation from soil erosion and agrochemical pollution from uncontrolled use of fertilizers and pesticide which also affect water bodies.
- Forests fires are a hazard, especially in summer (during the last ten years around 100,000 ha of forests have been affected by forest fires). In 2008, six million trees were planted in Macedonia to regenerate damaged forests. Illegal logging is also a growing area of concern, as well as illegal hunting. And not only forests are at risk. Several direct and indirect threats, such as agricultural activity, infrastructure industry and mining lead to loss of biodiversity and loss of ecosystem services.
- In terms of land degradation and erosion Macedonia is one of the most vulnerable Balkan countries. This is due to the mountainous landscape, historical and continuing unsustainable agricultural practices, and climatic variability with intense rainfalls and aridity. The major problems causing soil degradation in rural areas are poor agricultural practices, especially inefficient irrigation schemes, the overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and mining operations. In urban and industrial areas soil is contaminated with heavy metals and organic chemicals.
- Waste is another significant problem. The city of Skopje has a processing center for household waste in the rest of the country, so they are left in open dumps. There are large numbers of illegal dump sites and so far none of the existing landfills in the country complies with the EU standards. Furthermore, separating recyclable material and hazardous components of waste is at a very early stage.
- As of 2001, approximately 7.1% of Macedonia's total land area was protected, including one World Heritage Site and one Wetland of International Importance. As of 2001, the list of threatened species included 10 types of mammals and 3 types of bird. Endangered species include the field adder, Apollo butterfly, and noble crayfish.
- Climate change will most likely lead to temperature rise, mostly in summer periods, with intensive decrease of precipitation in all seasons except winter. Ohrid and Prespa lake regions are expected to have mildest response to global changes of the climate, while alpine regions are expected to have a dramatic response. The high mountain ranges would suffer snow and ice melting and loss of alpine ecosystems biodiversity. Climate change will also add to existing stresses, particularly water scarcity, land degradation, loss of biodiversity, and natural disasters. Due to the hot and dry conditions, forest fires are likely to intensify and become more frequent.