NAIROBI (REUTER) - The global environment is worsening as interest in it apparently wanes, the head of the Nairobi-based U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) said: AFRICA: The environment is shaped by economic, social and political problems, the world`s highest population growth rate, a fall in terms of trade, long-term droughts and a lack of financial resoures. Forests in Africa are the most depleted of all tropical regions but its grasslands are the richest in the world. Environment deterioration is intricately linked with poor economic performance and poverty. ASIA AND THE PACIFIC: Asia and the Pacific have 23 percent of the world`s land area but 58 percent of its people. Despite high economic growth, more than two-thirds of those in absolute poverty live in this region. It has led to a significant increase in air pollution and acidification is a growing problem. The largest portion of world`s land hit by soil degradation is in Asia and the Pacific. EUROPE AND THE CIS NATIONS: This region, home to 15 percent of the world`s population, covers more than one-fifth of the earth`s land surface. Many problems stem from high consumption of resources and output of waste in densely populated areas. Emissions of sulphur and nitrogen oxides are largely responsible for the 30 to 50 percent of forests damaged or dying. 52 percent of its fish, 45 percent of its reptiles and 42 percent of its mammals are under threat. LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN: Five of 10 most species-rich nations in the world are here but biodiversity is highly threatened, with an estimated 100,000 species from forested areas alone expected to be lost in the next 40 years. Rapid growth of tropical deforestation is being slowly reduced. NORTH AMERICA: The main cause of concern is rapid economic growth. In the US in 1996, 728 species were endangered or threatened. In Canada 254 were endangered or threatened and 21 were extinct.