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Despite being one of the countries with the greatest biodiversity in Latin America and having great ecological importance, there are numerous environmental problems in Ecuador.

Environmental education is an important tool to know how to take care of the environment in Ecuador and be able to mitigate its environmental Issues. Therefore, in this article by Ecologist Verde, as a first step towards raising awareness, it is reported which are the most common environmental problems, such as environmental pollution, and how they affect Ecuador. Therefore, if you are interested in learning about this topic, keep reading to know these 8 environmental problems in Ecuador.

Environmental pollution in Ecuador

How does pollution affect Ecuador? This is one of the first doubts that appear when we ask ourselves about the environmental problem in Ecuador.

  • The development of oil industries and internal combustion engines has led to an increase in the concentration of certain atmospheric pollutants (CO, CO2, PM10, PM2.5, sulfur oxides and hydrocarbons) decreasing air quality in Ecuador. Its presence not only generates affections on the natural environment, but also on people's health. Here we talk more about Why the air is polluted.
  • Water is also a natural resource plagued by pollution. The incorrect treatment of solid waste and wastewater of industrial, agricultural and urban origin, deforestation and urbanization generate large environmental impacts in Ecuador. Consequently, there is water pollution and the quality of rivers, such as the Guayas River, and other bodies of water, is strongly diminished by the growth of toxic algae. ("blooms") and by eutrophication processes (increased concentration of nitrogen and phosphorus).
  • Soil contamination from the use of fertilizers and other chemicals in intensive agriculture also creates serious problems for human health and agricultural ecosystems.

In this other article we tell you more about what is environmental pollution.

Deforestation in Ecuador

Just below Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Peru, Ecuador is one of the leading countries in deforestation. During the 1990s, the forest loss it has increased unprecedentedly (more than 2 million hectares less) as the extractive industry advances. Mining and oil activities affect the conservation of the forests and moorlands of Ecuador. But the construction of roads, urban areas and infrastructure such as hydroelectric plants, among other changes in land use, are also driving forces of change. Protected areas and the development of programs, such as SocioBosque, turn out to be key in the maintenance and conservation of these ecosystems.

In these other articles you can learn more details about the Causes of deforestation and the Consequences of deforestation.


In Ecuador, pelagic and demersal fishing is very important. However, the pressure exerted by a large number of vessels, for illegal fishing and by catch levels in fisheries that exceed the capacity for renewal of fishery resources, have led to a reduction in the populations of fish or fish species such as sardines.

Overexploitation of other natural resources

Poverty and an economic model based on disproportionate exploitation of natural resources, reduce ecosystem services and functions in Ecuador. This increasingly compromises the temporal and spatial availability of resources, endangering the country's food production and its great biodiversity.

In this link you can read about the Overexploitation of natural resources and in this other one about the Natural Resources of Ecuador.

Flood risk

The loss of paramos, the filling of canals, the settlements in the vicinity of the rivers and the development of agricultural activities in these areas contribute to an increase in the flood risk in coastal areas of Ecuador, in the Amazon basins and in some hydrographic basins located in the Andean region, with the arrival of seasonal rainfall. The situation worsens because the drainage systems are not adapted to the current situation, where the frequency and intensity of the rains has increased compared to the past years in which the evacuation systems were designed.

The El Niño phenomenon, eruptive processes and marine penetrations (by tsunamis, waves and tides) are also triggers of flooding processes in Ecuador.


Desertification is the phenomenon resulting from human activities, from which the appearance of climatic conditions typical of the desert takes place, thus favoring the land degradation and a greater recurrence of droughts. The desertification processes, land degradation and droughts (DDTS) represent one of the various environmental problems in Ecuador to guarantee food sovereignty and security, thus contributing to the increase of poverty. Desertification is also a factor that instigates forced migration, as it increases the risk of flooding and soil erosion, with the consequent loss of fertility.

The project "Support to Ecuador in the development of the National Action Plan Aligned to the Ten-Year Strategy of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and the Reporting Process" aims to respond to this problem.

Destruction of the landscape

Ecuador is a country with a great diversity of ecosystems (here you can find out what are the ecosystems of Ecuador), where agro-productive landscapes are predominant. Consequently, it presents a rich landscape that is increasingly threatened by human activities. The aforementioned problems, aggravated by the effects of climate change, cause the degradation and disappearance of natural landscapes. The notable reduction in glacier coverage in Ecuador stands out as an example of change in the landscape.

Loss of biodiversity and genetic resources

These environmental problems in Ecuador, together with the fragmentation of the territory, urbanization processes, tourist pressure, hunting and the introduction of invasive species, lead to loss of biodiversity and genetic resources. In fact, in Ecuador 78% of endemic plant species present conservation problems. Examples of threatened native animals include the jaguar or the sword-billed hummingbird. We also recommend you consult this other article about 17 animals in danger of extinction in Ecuador.

If you were wondering how to take care of the environment in Ecuador, now you know that we must put our efforts into solving the main environmental problems in Ecuador that we have explained here. In addition, we encourage you to read this other article about some Actions to take care of the environment from home.

If you want to read more articles similar to Environmental problems in Ecuador, we recommend that you enter our Pollution category.

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