ENVIRONMENT/ GOVERNANCE/ HEALTH
Topic: General Studies 2 and 3:
- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Fewer species, more disease
Context: COVID-19 induced lockdowns have kept people indoors and provided opportunities for wild animals to roam around spaces they otherwise don’t venture into.
Do you know?
- It is not yet fully understood which species have contributed to the transmission of COVID-19 and how.
- However, according to experts, there is strong evidence that it spread from a wildlife market in Wuhan, China. Two hypothesis have been discussed:
- (a) the virus jumped from bats directly to humans;
- (b) from bats to pangolins and then to humans
It is the time to rethink human actions on nature
- Scientists believe that emergence of epidemics have strong linkages with the loss of biodiversity, and increase in wildlife trade.
- In order to clear land for development and agriculture, forests & habitats have been destroyed. In the process, ecosystems are being damaged, fragmented or destroyed and as a result, world has lost several species.
- Trafficking in wild plants and animals has become one of the largest forms of organised crime that has become a threat to wildlife & ecosystems.
- Species are being wiped out by organised trade networks, with new poaching techniques, for manufacturing traditional Chinese medicines.
- Human-induced environmental changes reduce biodiversity resulting in new conditions that host vectors and/or pathogens
- By disturbing the delicate balance of nature, we have created ideal conditions for the spread of viruses from animals to humans.
- Mainstreaming of biodiversity is needed in our post-COVID-19 development programme.
- Long term Vision: Nations should work towards realising the 2050 vision for biodiversity, ‘Living in Harmony with Nature’.
- Integrated approach: Societies must follow a ‘one health’ approach which considers the health of people, wild and domesticated animals, and the environment.
- Strict Monitoring: International Community need to strictly regulate high-risk wildlife markets that threaten biodiversity.
- Promoting Green Economy: Governments should promote green jobs and work towards achieving carbon-neutral economies.
- Executive action: India should strictly enforce
- The Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, which prohibits the trade of 1,800 species of wild animals/plants and their derivatives;
- The Biological Diversity Act of 2002;
- Strategies and action plans including the National Biodiversity Targets;
- The National Biodiversity Mission
- Mass biodiversity literacy: People should realise that we live in a world where biodiversity is our common heritage and natural capital.
Ecosystem integrity will regulate diseases and restrict the transmission of pathogens from one species to another.
Connecting the dots:
- Sustainable Developmental Goals