The principal environmental responsibilities are vested in the Ministry of Public Health and the Environment; the Subsecretariat of Environmental Planning in the Ministry of Transportation and Public Works; and the Subsecretariat of Renewable Natural Resources and Ecology within the Secretariat of State for Agriculture and Livestock. In 1977, the Metropolitan Area Ecological Belt State Enterprise was created to lay out a 150-km (93-mi) greenbelt around Buenos Aires, with controls on emission and effluents as well as on building density.
The major environmental issues in Argentina are pollution and the loss of agricultural lands. The soil is threatened by erosion, salinization, and deforestation. In the 1995, Argentina had 33,942 ha (83,872 acres) of forest and woodland. Air pollution is also a problem due to chemical agents from industrial sources. The water supply is threatened by uncontrolled dumping of pesticides, hydrocarbons, and heavy metals. Argentina has a renewable water supply of 360 cu km. Only 77% of all city dwellers and 29% of people living in rural areas have pure drinking water.
Endangered species in Argentina include the ruddy-headed goose, Argentinian pampas deer, South Andean huemul, Puna rhea, tundra peregrine falcon, black-fronted piping guan, glaucous macaw, spectacled caiman, the broad-nosed caiman, Lear's macaw, the guayaquil great green macaw, and the American crocodile. Of the 320 species of mammals in Argentina, 27 are considered endangered. Forty-one of the 897 species of birds are threatened. Five species of a total of 234 reptiles are also threatened. Of the nation's 9,000-plus plant species, 83 were endangered as of 2001.