Peru's principal environmental problems are air pollution, water pollution, soil erosion and pollution, and deforestation. Air pollution is a problem, especially in Lima, due to industrial and vehicle emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions from industrial sources totaled 26.1 million metric tons in 1996. Water pollution is another of Peru's environmental concerns. Its sources are industrial waste, sewage, and oil-related waste. The nation has 1,746 cu km of renewable water resources with 86% used to support farming and 7% used for industrial activity. Only 87% percent of city dwellers and 62% of the rural population have access to pure drinking water. The nation's cities produce about3.0 million tons of solid waste per year. Soil erosion has resulted from overgrazing on the slopes of the costa and sierra.
The National Office for the Evaluation of Natural Resources is the principal policymaking body for resource development, while the General Department of the Environment, part of the Ministry of Health, deals with control of pollution problems; water, forest, and wildlife resources are the province of the Ministry of Agriculture. Numerous environmental protection measures have been passed, but enforcement is lax and hampered by inefficient management and scarce fiscal resources. A major environmental challenge for Peru in the 1980s had been opening the selva for agricultural development without doing irreparable harm to the ecology of the Amazon Basin.
In 2001, 46 of the nation's mammal species and 64 of its bird species were endangered. About 653 of its plant species were also endangered. Endangered species include the yellow-tailed woolly monkey, black spider monkey, puna rhea, tundra peregrine falcon, white-winged guan, arrau, green sea turtle, hawksbill turtle, olive ridley turtle, leatherback turtle, spectacled caiman, black caiman, Orinoco crocodile, and American crocodile.