The major environmental problem in Mali is the increasing desertification of the country. Soil erosion, deforestation, and loss of pastureland pose additional problems for the environment. Mali also has an inadequate water supply: only 74% of city dwellers and 61% of people living in rural areas have access to pure water. The country has 60 cu km of renewable water resources, of which 97% is used for farming and 1% is used for industrial purposes. Mali's cities produce about 0.4 million tons of solid waste.
The nation's wildlife is threatened by drought, poaching, and the destruction of the environment. Mali has a national park and four animal reserves that cover a total of 808,600 ha (1,998,100 acres), as well as six forest reserves covering 229,400 ha (566,900 acres). In addition, the Sahel has an elephant reserve of 1,200,000 ha (2,965,000 acres) and a giraffe reserve of 1,750,000 ha (4,324,000 acres). However, the authorities lack the means to prevent poaching of protected animals or cutting down of trees for firewood. In 2001, 13 of Mali's mammal species and 6bird species were endangered. There were also 5 species of plants threatened with extinction. Threatened species include the addax, cheetah, and barbary sheep. The Sahara oryx has become extinct in the wild.