Uruguay - Environment
Air and water pollution are environmental concerns in Uruguay. Air pollution, which is worse in the larger population centers, is caused primarily by Uruguay's own industries and by an energy plant in neighboring Brazil. Water pollution from mining and industrial sources threatens the nation's water supply, especially pollution from the meat packing and tannery industry. Uruguay has 59 cu km of renewable water resources with 91% used for farming activity and 3% for industrial purposes. About 98% of the population has access to safe drinking water. Natural hazards to the environment include drought, flooding, and fires. Erosion of the soil affects the nation's agricultural productivity. The nation's cities produce about 0.5 million tons of solid waste per year. Government agencies with environmental responsibilities include the Division of Environmental Health, within the Ministry of Public Health; the Ministry of Agriculture; and the Interior Ministry. As of 2001, 5 of Uruguay's mammal species and 11 of its bird species were endangered. Two types of plants were threatened with extinction. Endangered species included the tundra peregrine falcon, two species of turtle (green sea and leatherback), and two species of crocodile (spectacled caiman and broad-nosed caiman). The glaucous macaw has become extinct.