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Zoonosis: Safe forests, safe people

  • IASbaba
  • April 3, 2020
  • 0
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ENVIRONMENT/ HEALTH

Topic: General Studies 3:

  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Zoonosis: Safe forests, safe people

Zoonosis a disease which can be transmitted from animals to humans. 

Diseases of animal Origin include

  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome – from bats and the civet cat
  • Nipah Virus – From bats & pigs
  • Kyasanur Forest Disease – From Hard ticks or from dead monkeys
  • Bird Flu and Swine Flu
  • Ebola
  • HIV
  • COVID-19

These diseases are causing pandemics more often than not in the recent past. Some of the reasons attributed for this are:

  • The destruction of forests has made these animals come into close contact with humans
  • Trapping or farming of wild species by humans has increased their vulnerability to transmission
  • Rising economic activity, such as road building and mining cutting through forests, brings more people in close contact with animals. 
  • Increased global trade in wild species – In Wuhan, the epicentre of COVID-19, wolf pups to rats, civets and foxes were traded which could be the reservoir of viruses.

Way Ahead

  • Avoid reckless exploitation of environment
  • Maintaining the sanctity of forests:
    • Biodiversity in forests harmlessly retains dangerous viruses and other pathogens among a vast pool of wild animals, away from people.
  • Change in the mind-set:
    • Societies & Governments should stop viewing undisturbed landscapes as an impediment to economic growth.
  • Increased attention from International actors about the dangers of future pandemic– Governments, Civil Society, International Organisations and Businesses.
  • Environmental aspects to be integrated into developmental strategies
  • Administrative Changes
    • Roll back the dilution of the environmental clearance system
    • Decentralisation – Empowering local communities to deal with environmental clearances
    • Empowering Scientific community- Leaving protected areas to scientific experts rather than at the hands of bureaucracy
  • Creating awareness among the public 
    • Common man should be made aware of that environmental protection confers health protection (that is already backed by scientific evidence)

Conclusion

Pristine forests with diverse species keep viruses virtually bottled up, out of man’s way. They should be left undisturbed.

Connecting the dots:

  • Impact of crisis caused by COVID-19 disease (having animal source ) on food habits
  • US withdrawal from Paris Climate Deal – Will COVID-19 crisis create a rethink on US part?

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