World Environment Day 2021: 75% Of Emerging Infectious Diseases Are Zoonotic, Caused By Biodiversity Loss, Warns UN Environment Programme Official

World Environment Day 2021: 75% Of Emerging Infectious Diseases Are Zoonotic, Caused By Biodiversity Loss, Warns UN Environment Programme Official

On World Environment Day, Inger Andersen, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme said that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important it has become to rethink the relationship of humans with nature
World Environment Day: 75% Of Emerging Infectious Diseases Are Zoonotic, Caused By Biodiversity Loss, Warns UN Environment Programme OfficialWorld Environment Day: Because 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
  • This World Environment Day let's move from crisis to healing: UNEP
  • 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 17,66,30,634 and 38,22,022 have died; 5,80,25,717 are active cases and 11,47,82,895 have recovered as on June 16, 2021 at 3:30 am.


2,96,33,105 62,224Cases
2,83,88,100 1,07,628Recovered
3,79,573 2,542Deaths
In India, there are 2,96,33,105 confirmed cases including 3,79,573 deaths. The number of active cases is 8,65,432 and 2,83,88,100 have recovered as on June 16, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths

59,24,773 7,652

1,41,440 8,982

56,69,179 15,176

1,14,154 1,458


27,77,010 5,041

1,62,303 9,859

25,81,559 14,785

33,148 115


27,48,204 12,246

1,12,792 1,456

26,23,904 13,536

11,508 166

Tamil Nadu

23,78,298 11,805

1,25,215 11,669

22,23,015 23,207

30,068 267

Andhra Pradesh

18,20,134 5,741

75,134 4,879

17,32,948 10,567

12,052 53

Uttar Pradesh

17,03,207 270

7,221 890

16,74,072 1,104

21,914 56

West Bengal

14,68,044 3,268

20,046 1,125

14,30,949 2,068

17,049 75


14,31,498 228

3,078 148

14,03,569 364

24,851 12


9,88,172 609

11,717 943

9,63,113 1,544

13,342 8


9,50,133 172

5,619 848

9,35,658 1,006

8,856 14


8,59,526 3,405

44,358 3,436

8,11,780 6,799

3,388 42


8,21,078 352

8,884 658

8,02,187 1,006

10,007 4

Madhya Pradesh

7,88,649 224

3,610 331

7,76,424 528

8,615 27


7,66,357 228

3,703 374

7,53,584 564

9,070 38


7,17,949 410

4,360 412

7,04,075 813

9,514 9


6,06,436 1,556

19,933 528

5,82,993 2,070

3,510 14


5,89,153 628

10,802 1,111

5,62,701 1,691

15,650 48


4,66,590 3,415

41,184 475

4,21,378 2,906

4,028 34


3,43,793 184

2,646 416

3,36,058 596

5,089 4


3,37,449 274

3,642 266

3,26,822 515

6,985 25

Jammu And Kashmir

3,08,726 715

12,407 1,125

2,92,114 1,830

4,205 10

Himachal Pradesh

1,99,197 321

4,050 382

1,91,737 691

3,410 12


1,63,048 327

4,175 231

1,55,926 548

2,947 10


1,13,192 355

4,668 279

1,06,828 629

1,696 5


61,200 40

486 21

59,917 58

797 3


61,096 785

8,744 301

51,354 476

998 8


60,385 536

4,886 65

54,870 596

629 5


42,759 450

4,430 99

37,579 542

750 7

Arunachal Pradesh

31,938 290

2,849 40

28,934 326

155 4


23,854 101

2,972 229

20,423 327

459 3


19,649 38

552 20

18,898 57

199 1


18,659 209

3,239 67

15,136 273

284 3


15,899 268

3,637 45

12,191 312

71 1

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,473 9

61 2

10,408 7



9,297 61

484 36

8,768 96

45 1

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,280 11

105 4

7,049 15


Coronavirus Outbreak: Full CoverageTesting CentresFAQs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like

India Needs To Focus On Environment To Avoid Future Pandemics Like COVID-19: Environmentalist Sunita Narain

NDTV speaks with Environmentalist Sunita Narain about COVID-19, its learnings and how individuals and authorities need to save the environment in a bid to avoid future pandemics