ACCORDING to the United Nations (UN), the rate of environmental damage on our planet is increasing at a faster pace than previously thought and seen in the last 10,000 years. This makes it imperative for governments to act now and reverse the damage being done to the planet.
Under the “Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6): Regional Assessments,” the UN reported that unprecedented economic growth, which has lifted millions out of poverty in Asia and the Pacific, is putting heavy pressure on ecosystems in the region.
“Increasing unsustainable consumption patterns have led to worsening air pollution, water scarcity and waste generation, threatening human and environmental health. Increased demand for fossil fuels and natural resources — extensive agriculture, palm oil and rubber plantations, aquaculture and the illegal trade in wildlife — are causing environmental degradation and biodiversity loss,” the report added.
In another report, the UN noted recorded floods, storms, heatwaves, droughts and other weather-related events to have caused 90 percent of the world’s major disasters in the last 20 years.
The “Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters” found that five countries hit by the highest number of disasters are the United States, China, India, Philippines, and Indonesia. It added that Asia accounts for the most share of disaster impacts, including 332,000 deaths and 3.7 billion people affected.
Environmental degradation, urban development and population growth, combined with the impacts of natural calamities have increased the risks. Environmental problems caused by impacts of human activities on resources is a phenomenon commonly known as climate change. As time goes by, the planet becomes more vulnerable. Its ability to ward off wastes and destructive effluent is growing thin.
About 75 percent of disasters are caused by or related to weather. The world has reached a critical stage in its efforts to exercise responsible environmental stewardship. Despite intentions and some admirable actions done by notable organizations, unsustainable use of the world’s natural resources has left the degradation of the global environment unabated.
People must be educated on how the world’s current practices is exhausting many of the planet’s limits — leading to risks of damaging the ecosystem that is beyond repair.
This calls for governments to initiate groundbreaking environmental policies to cushion the impacts of climate change, improve disaster mitigation, preserve the remaining forests and biodiversity, and secure food supply.
The world must find a balance between economic and social development with environmental protection—before it’s too late. (AJPress)