By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the world, an environmental expert Adedoyin Adeleke, Executive Director, International Support Network for African Development has charged African countries, especially Nigeria to increase palliatives to the poor to reduce over exploitation of nature.
He said this over exploitation also exacerbate climate change in the long run.
He said the emergence of Covid-19 has more undesirable implications against environmental sustainability than it has for it.
According to him, “While global stakeholders called for increased climate action, the emergence of the COVID19 pandemic constituted another disruption. Indeed, the lockdown adopted in many countries, including Nigeria, to fight the pandemic resulted in decrease in transport and production activities, among other economic activities, thus reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
“However, the decrease is temporal yet COVID19 has more undesirable implications against environmental sustainability than it has for it.
“First, the COVID19 is zoonotic (that is contracted from animals). Beyond this, about 60 per cent of all diseases infectious to man is contracted from animals. Ebola and bird flu are among the zoonotic diseases that have impacted the world recently with the latest being the Coronavirus disease (COVID19).
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that more than 1.5 million people have contracted the disease which has resulted in more than 90,000 deaths in over 200 countries of the world.
“Given the need to save lives, global resource mechanisms have diverted attention to combat the pandemic hence reduced resource mobilisation for climate change among other development themes.
“Being zoonotic, the COVID19 pandemic has several implications for nature, biodiversity, environmental sustainability and climate change. While the specific causes of the Coronavirus Disease are still being researched; activities that undermine nature conservation, biodiversity such as deforestation, changes in land use, unregulated wildlife trade, climate change have also been identified to be factors that contribute to zoonosis emergence. Also, the increase in water consumption, increase in the generation of medical wastes which are mostly plastic, among other measures adopted to fight the pandemic also have implications for environmental sustainability and climate change. The lockdown has also negatively impacted the income and as a result, households using modern cooking technologies and cleaner fuels have resulted to firewood for cooking thus increasing deforestation.
“The emergence of the COVID19 pandemic highlights the need to strike a new deal with nature. We need to re-calibrate our interactions with nature which is the central focus of the post-2020 framework for nature conservation and biodiversity, the “New Deal for Nature and People.”