The main environmental problems facing Mauritius are water pollution, soil erosion, and preservation of its wildlife. The sources of water pollution are sewage and agricultural chemicals. Mauritius cities produce 0.1 million tons of solid waste annually. The erosion of the soil occurs through deforestation.
The Ministry of Housing, Lands, and the Environment has principal responsibility in environmental matters. As of 2001, only about 1.8% of the nation's total land area is protected. According to UN reports, Mauritius ranked third in the world on the list of countries with the most endangered species in the mid-1990s. In 2002, there were 44 extinct species. As of the mid-1990s, 3 of Mauritius' mammal species and 10 of its bird species were endangered, as well as 269 of its plant species.
Endangered species on the island of Mauritius include the pink pigeon, Round Island boa and keel-scaled boa, green sea turtle, and Mauritius varieties of kestrel, parakeet, and fody. Endangered species on Rodrigues include distinctive varieties of brush warbler, fody, flying fox, and day gecko. Extinct species include the Mauritian duck, the Mauritius blue pigeon, the red rail, Rodrigues little owl, and the giant day gecko.