World Environment Day: 75% Of Emerging Infectious Diseases Are Zoonotic, Caused By Biodiversity Loss, Warns UN Environment Programme Official

World Environment Day: 75% Of Emerging Infectious Diseases Are Zoonotic, Caused By Biodiversity Loss, Warns UN Environment Programme OfficialBecause of erratic human actions, the biodiversity loss is happening on a large scale which has become one of the biggest reasons of zoonotic diseases (diseases transmitted from animals to humans) emerging as a global concern, said Inger Andersen of UNEP

  • Humans, environment and environmental health are one and the same: UNEP
  • We must take deliberate steps from crisis towards healing: Inger Andersen
  • Zoonotic diseases that can be passed on from animals to humans on the rise

New Delhi: According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the issue of zoonotic diseases or zoonoses which are the illnesses that can be passed on from animals to humans is emerging as an issue of global concern. UNEP stressed that zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19, Ebola, Swine Flu, Lyme disease among others are interlinked with the health of ecosystems. The degradation of the environment and the loss of biodiversity caused by indiscriminate human actions may result in frequent pandemics like the ongoing COVID-19 in the coming years. On World Environment Day which is celebrated every year on June 5, to raise awareness and action for the protection of the environment, NDTV spoke with Inger Andersen, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UNEP who said in her message that the time to act is now and we cannot afford to lose another hour ignoring the environmental crisis facing the planet.

Also Read: UN Chief Calls For A Global Partnership To Address COVID-19, Climate Change And Achieve Sustainable Development Goals

Ms Andersen warned that because of the biodiversity loss that is happening on a large scale, over 60 per cent of non-infectious disease and about 75 per cent of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic. She said,

Now, we have to understand that to a large extent, human activity is largely to blame. We have intensified agriculture, we have fragmented nature, we have expanded infrastructure, we have extracted resources at the expense of these wild remote bases. Factory farms are linked to 25 per cent of infectious diseases in humans and travel and transport and food supply chains have erased what were borders and distances between some of these diseases and their appearance.

She further said that COVID-19 is one of the worst zoonotic diseases known so far. In the last century,

Ebola, Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), HIV, Swine Flu, Lyme disease, Rift Valley fever- each one of these preceded COVID-19 and in the last century, we have seen at least six major outbreaks of coronaviruses.

Also Read: Net Zero By 2050: International Energy Agency Calls For Unprecedented Transformation Of How Energy Is Produced

2021-2030: UN Decade Of Ecosystem Restoration

Ms Andersen said that the pandemic has shown that there is an urgent need to rethink the human relationship with nature. With an aim to work towards this, the UNEP has decided to dedicate the decade 2021-2030 to ecosystem restoration. This year, the world environment day will mark the launch of the program ‘UN Decade Of Ecosystem Restoration’, she said.

In 2021, we must take deliberate steps to move from crisis to healing. And to do that, we need to recognize that restoration of nature, restoration of our planet is the way to go, it is imperative to the survival of our planet and to the human race. This decade is designed to connect, empower and build political momentum; generate scientific research and create a groundswell of support for actions of on ecosystem restoration. A decade might seem like a long time, but scientists say that the next 10 years would count most in the fight to avert climate change and to avert biodiversity loss.

Talking further about why it is imperative to take immediate environmental actions, Ms Andersen said that by degrading the natural world, people are chipping away AT the very foundation of what makes their well-being possible. Be it food, water, shelter, clothes, climate, economic growth, all of these are provided by the nature, she said. Ms Andersen added,

At the end of the day, humans, environment and environmental health are one and the same. And that must be the learning we all must take from this terrible pandemic of COVID-19 and the tragic suffering that we are seeing around the world including in India.

Also Read: Global Carbon Emissions Set For Second-Biggest Increase In History: International Energy Agency

Achieving Sustainable Development Goals By Averting Climate Change And Biodiversity Loss

According to Ms Andersen, now is the time, the chance that humanity has to put the planet back on a sustainable course. She said,

By restoring the ecosystem, we are addressing sustainable development and therefore, hitting on the targets of sustainable development goals. And in doing so, we are safeguarding human well-being and health as we are taking care of this planet.

Out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the following seven have a direct relation with environmental issues:

SDG 1- No Poverty
SDG 7- Affordable and Clean Energy
SDG 11- Sustainable Cities and Communities
SDG 12- Responsible consumption and Production
SDG 13- Climate Action
SDG 14- Life Below Water
SDG 15- Life on Land

In its ‘The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020’, the United Nations has said that while each of these targets was showing slow progress before the pandemic hit the world, these have become increasingly hard to achieve because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

As the climate emergency intensifies, Ms Andersen says that the transition towards climate stability has become critical. On the link between climate change and human health, she said,

We also need to think about the climate change which has further contributed to the pathogens and will do so more if we don’t get a check on the climate change and so the end result is that people and animals with the diseases are closer than ever.

Ms Andersen stressed that now more than ever before in history, it has become imperative that the degradation of the natural world needs to be prevented, halted and reversed.

Also Read: A Forest Officer From Jharkhand Comes Up With An Idea To Stop Forest Fires, Illegal Tree Felling And Creates Jobs

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene






Coronavirus has spread to 193 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 17,21,53,816 and 37,01,251 have died; 5,87,58,208 are active cases and 10,96,94,357 have recovered as on June 4, 2021 at 3:57 am.


2,85,74,350 1,32,364Cases


2,65,97,655 2,07,071Recovered

3,40,702 2,713Deaths

In India, there are 2,85,74,350 confirmed cases including 3,40,702 deaths. The number of active cases is 16,35,993 and 2,65,97,655 have recovered as on June 4, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths

57,91,413 15,229

2,07,813 11,031

54,86,206 25,617

97,394 643


26,53,446 18,324

2,86,819 6,226

23,36,096 24,036

30,531 514


25,84,853 18,853

1,84,699 7,869

23,90,779 26,569

9,375 153

Tamil Nadu

21,72,751 24,405

2,80,426 8,276

18,66,660 32,221

25,665 460

Andhra Pradesh

17,28,577 11,421

1,38,912 4,883

15,78,452 16,223

11,213 81

Uttar Pradesh

16,95,212 1,220

25,546 3,148

16,48,771 4,260

20,895 108


14,27,926 487

8,748 616

13,94,731 1,058

24,447 45

West Bengal

14,03,535 8,811

61,780 8,235

13,25,834 16,938

15,921 108


9,76,760 1,619

29,378 2,257

9,34,243 3,854

13,139 22


9,43,494 1,258

27,408 5,242

9,07,527 6,456

8,559 44


8,13,270 1,207

24,404 1,828

7,78,976 3,018

9,890 17


7,90,970 8,839

75,042 1,637

7,13,055 10,434

2,873 42

Madhya Pradesh

7,82,945 846

14,186 2,950

7,60,552 3,746

8,207 50


7,60,019 980

12,688 1,980

7,38,799 2,889

8,532 71


7,10,199 1,106

11,431 1,160

6,93,472 2,238

5,296 28


5,85,489 2,261

32,579 800

5,49,579 3,043

3,331 18


5,74,114 2,144

28,673 2,460

5,30,601 4,512

14,840 92


4,24,385 4,309

51,881 527

3,68,981 4,790

3,523 46


3,39,930 1,015

7,537 230

3,27,372 775

5,021 10


3,32,067 589

22,530 2,836

3,02,964 3,387

6,573 38

Jammu And Kashmir

2,95,879 1,801

30,657 922

2,61,230 2,694

3,992 29

Himachal Pradesh

1,93,137 995

11,057 918

1,78,847 1,890

3,233 23


1,57,847 572

9,700 1,140

1,45,437 1,695

2,710 17


1,07,114 815

10,015 151

95,516 950

1,583 16


60,399 111

1,135 116

58,502 226

762 1


53,872 650

6,340 118

46,993 763

539 5


52,899 621

8,863 172

43,187 783

849 10


37,149 552

6,352 51

30,172 594

625 9

Arunachal Pradesh

28,382 364

3,843 26

24,420 337

119 1


22,240 168

4,711 121

17,125 284

404 5


18,954 113

1,505 26

17,256 137

193 2


16,165 289

4,184 81

11,718 205

263 3


13,064 205

3,415 95

9,602 108

47 2

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,345 14

250 32

10,091 46



8,479 144

1,355 112

7,089 256


Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,070 27

131 12

6,820 39


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