Uruguay is in the admirable position of being one the least polluted countries in South America. This does not mean there are not threats on the horizon. Uruguay is currently suffering a problem with air pollution; the country’s populated cities experience pollution from Uruguay’s own industries as a developing country as well as a sizeable energy plant on the Brazilian border. These industries, especially mining and meatpacking are threatening clean water sources. Currently 98% of the population has access to clean water, which is one of the highest percentages in South and Central America.
In the arena of wildlife, 11 bird species and 5 mammal species are endangered, and the glaucous macaw has become extinct. However, Uruguay has a system of protected areas and a management plan in place to protect those endangered species.