Water pollution is a significant problem in Sierra Leone due to mining by-products and sewage. The nation has 160 cubic kilometers of renewable water resource, with 89% used for farming and 4% for industrial purposes. Only 75% of the nation's city dwellers and 46% of those living in rural areas have safe drinking water. The nation's cities produce about 0.3 million tons of solid waste per year.
Population pressure, leading to an intensification of agriculture, has resulted in soil depletion, while lumbering, cattle grazing, and slash-and-burn farming have decimated the primary forest. By 1985, deforestation had progressed to a total of 23 square miles. Agricultural lands are gradually replacing forestlands due to the need for food by a population that increased by 80% during the period between 1963 and 1990. Hunting for food has reduced the stock of wild mammals, and Cutamba Killimi National Park, which has some wildlife species found only in this part of West Africa, is exploited by poachers. As of 2001, only 1.1% of Sierra Leone's total land area was protected.
Government agencies with environmental responsibilities include the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Forestry, Ministry of Mines, Ministry of Lands and Human Development, Ministry of Energy and Power, and Ministry of Economic Planning and National Development. In 2001, nine of Sierra Leone's mammal species and 12 bird species were endangered. Eight of the nation's plant species were also threatened. Threatened species in Sierra Leone include the white-breasted Guinea fowl, Diana monkey, and Jentink's dviker.