A new report from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said that protecting ecosystems are crucial to stopping the spread of pathogens. The report titled “Preventing the Next Pandemic: Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission,” shares that protecting the environment is the way to avoid outbreaks like the current coronavirus pandemic.

“The science is clear that if we keep exploiting wildlife and destroying our ecosystems, then we can expect to see a steady stream of these diseases jumping from animals to humans in the years ahead. Pandemics are devastating to our lives and our economies, and as we have seen over the past months, it is the poorest and the most vulnerable who suffer the most,” said Inger Andersen, UNEP executive director, “To prevent future outbreaks, we must become much more deliberate about protecting our natural environment.”

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Coronavirus is one among a growing number of diseases, including Ebola, MERS, and West Nile Fever that have spread from animals to humans. These transmissions are intensified by humans’ increasing environmental impact. Excluding the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed over 500,000 lives at the time of publication, 2 million people around the world die annually from zoonotic diseases.

To prevent these transmissions, we must protect our ecosystems and keep animals safe in their homes. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said there is a need for a new framework to protect biodiversity, ” To prevent future outbreaks, countries need to conserve wild habitats, promote sustainable agriculture, strengthen food safety standards, monitor and regulate food markets, invest in technology to identify risks, and curb the illegal trade in wildlife.”

Read more about zoonotic diseases and climate change in One Green Planet, check out these articles:

Scientists believe that the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, started at an exotic animal market in Wuhan, China. Sign this petition to Close Down ALL Live Animal Markets To Prevent Future Pandemics!

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