Sun. Sep 25th, 2022


The Real News Network

Pandemic ‘perfect storm’ warning as destruction of forests to ‘unleash diseases’

2 min read

Experts are set to warn world leaders about the rising threat of future pandemics that can cripple the planet once again if dramatic deforestation rates continue.

A UN summit on biodiversity, set to be held in New York next month, will hear there is strong evidence between environmental destruction and the rise of deadly new diseases, such as coronavirus.

Rapid deforestation and the uncontrolled expansion of farming and building mines in remote regions combined with the hunting of wild animals as food are reportedly creating "perfect storm" for diseases to form.

It is estimated that a third of all emerging diseases have begun during land exploitation and could lead to five or six epidemics a year.

Dr Stuart Pimm, professor of conservation at Duke University said: "There are now a whole raft of activities – illegal logging, clearing and mining – with associated international trades in bushmeat and exotic pets that have created this crisis.

"In the case of Covid-19, it has cost the world trillions of dollars and already killed almost a million people, so clearly urgent action is needed."

It is during phases of deforestation that viruses and bacteria – many of which are unknown to science – accidentally infect new hosts, namely humans and livestock.

These so-called "spillovers" can then lead to the host infecting more people and result in an emerging new disease.

Previous examples are the HIV virus, which was first spread from chimpanzees and gorillas that were being slaughtered for bushmeat in West Africa.

Another case is Ebola, which was passed on by bats to primates before infecting humans.

Dr Andy Dobson, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University, told The Guardian: "When workers come into rainforests to chop down trees they don’t food with them."

  • Coronavirus resurgence in South Korea leaves country running out of sick beds

The brutal nature of unsafe animal slaughter was later highlighted by Dr Pimm.

He added: "I have a photo of a guy slaughtering a wild pig deep in the Ecuadorian jungle. He was an illegal logger and he and his fellow workers needed food so they killed a boar.

"They got splattered with the wild pig blood in the process. It’s gruesome and unhygienic and that is how these diseases spread."

Source: Read Full Article