Ghana - Environment
Slash-and-burn agriculture and overcultivation of cleared land have resulted in widespread soil erosion and exhaustion. Overgrazing, heavy logging, overcutting of firewood, and mining have taken a toll on forests and woodland. About one-third of Ghana's land area is threatened by desertification. Industrial pollutants include arsenic from gold mining and noxious fumes from smelters. Water pollution results from a combination of industrial sources, agricultural chemicals, and inadequate waste treatment facilities. Ghana's cities produce about 0.5 million tons of solid waste annually. The nation has 30 cubic kilometers of renewable water resource with 52% used for farming activity and 13% used for industrial purposes; about 91% of all urban dwellers and 62% of the rural population have access to pure water.
In 2001, Ghana had five national parks and four other protected areas, totaling 4.6% of the country's total land area. The ban on hunting in closed reserves is only sporadically enforced, and the nation's wildlife is threatened by poaching and habitat destruction. Of the country's 222 mammal species, 13 are threatened, as well as 10 of the nation's 529 bird species and 4 types of reptiles. In addition, 22 of over 3,000 plant species are endangered.