Environmental issues in Uruguay
This page covers environmental issues in Uruguay.
The Uruguayan savanna ecoregion used to be covered by grasslands, palm savannas, and gallery forests along the Uruguay, Negro, Yaguarí, Queguay, and Tacuarembó rivers. Unfortunately, agriculture and cattle ranching have heavily altered these natural communities. The savannas are critically endangered due to the fact that there are few small isolated patches of intact habitat remaining. The whole ecoregion has been severely altered by cattle ranching, one of the main pillars of the national economy in Uruguay. About 80% of Uruguayan territory is used for cattle ranching on natural and artificial savannas.
Some of Uruguay's major environmental issues include:
There is also an upcoming new scope of potential issues regarding megaprojects:
The main state agency in charge of the environment is the National Directorate for the Environment (Spanish: Dirección Nacional de Medio Ambiente, DINAMA) which is part of the Ministry of Housing, Territorial Planning and Environment.
Green politics did not set roots in Uruguay for a long time. In the 1989 election the Green Eto-Ecologist Party obtained 0.5% of the popular vote; in general, environmental organizations have had low political significance, often as part of other bigger parties.
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