Emergence of diseases like COVID-19 linked to environmental destruction

The rise in zoonotic diseases, which jump from animals to humans, is driven by the degradation of the natural environment, according to a new United Nations report.

Zoonotic diseases, including COVID-19, Ebola and HIV/AIDS, have been emerging more frequently as a result of an increased demand for animal protein, a rise in unsustainable farming, the increased use and exploitation of wildlife and the climate crisis, among other trends, the report says.

"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," said Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme.

Further outbreaks involving zoonotic diseases will occur unless governments take active preventive measures, according to the report, which lays out 10, including expanding scientific inquiry into zoonotic diseases and incentivizing sustainable land management practices.

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