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The management of solid waste in urban areas and safeguarding natural resources are some of the major challenges to be faced by Latin America and the Caribbean in 2007, Spanish news agency EFE quoted the regional head of the UN Environment Programme (Unep), Ricardo Sánchez, as saying.
According to Sánchez, deforestation, land degradation, pollution and the inadequate management of solid waste in urban areas are some of the factors putting the region's environment and natural resources at risk.
In countries relying mainly on the development of their primary resources, the environmental issue will continue to create tension in economic sectors, he said.
Sánchez called on companies to balance their productive activities with those related to environmental care in an effort to guarantee the well-being of inhabitants.
According to Sánchez, authorities have failed to do enough to protect natural resources from being rapidly destroyed. He pointed to the Amazon and the Alto Atlántico in Paraná - which sits on the borders of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil - as natural areas of particular concern in the region, where some 47M ha of forest were destroyed between 1990 and 2000.