Environmental issues in Colombia

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Trash in the bay of Cartagena, Colombia (2005).
Pollution on the streets of Barranquilla.

There are many environmental issues in Colombia but deforestation is one of the major concerns.

New environmental protection legislation was enacted in 1991, including the creation of specially protected zones, of which more than 200 were created in the early 1990s, mostly in forest areas and national parks. As a result of this charter, the Ministry of the Environment was established in 1993, but merged with the housing and drinking water division of the Ministry of Economic Development, Housing, and Potable Water in 2003.

Current issues include deforestation resulting from timber exploitation in the jungles of the Amazon and the region of Chocó; illicit drug crops grown by peasants in the national parks of Serranía de la Macarena and Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta; soil erosion; soil and water quality damage from contamination by the use of chemicals in the coca-refining process, spillage of crude oil into the local rivers as a result of guerrilla sabotage of pipelines, and overuse of pesticides; air pollution (especially in Bogotá) from vehicle emissions; and preservation of wildlife.

Natural hazards include highlands subject to volcanic eruptions, occasional earthquakes, and periodic droughts.


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 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.