What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity is the diversity of all life from microscopic to specie level. In our environment, everything is linked together like a chain; if anything in this chain goes missing or destroyed, it causes an impact on the whole atmosphere and the entire ecosystem.
Where everything is going hand in hand causes a chain reaction impacting everything on every level. The same has happened in the current pandemic, which has been assumed to be caused by deforestation, destroying the wildlife habitat, natural disasters, and locust invasion.
Impact of COVID-19 on biodiversity in general
The COVID-19 has highlighted the fact that we’ll destroy the framework that protects human life by destroying biodiversity. The more intact an ecosystem becomes, the more likely it is for one pathogen to disperse or conquer rapidly; thus, lack of intact creates openings for pathogens to move between animals and humans.
Human actions, including deforestation, invasion of wildlife habitats, intensified agriculture, and accelerated climate change, have upset nature’s delicate balance. We have modified the structure that would protect us naturally and produced conditions that allow unique pathogens – including coronaviruses – to spread.
How exactly does the depletion of biodiversity cause the zoonotic diseases to increase?
At least three mechanisms are at play:
Firstly, increased contact between wildlife and humans and their livestock due to ecosystem encroachment.
Secondly, the collection of animals that are most capable of infecting humans and/or their pets mostly mice and bats as they flourish in environments occupied by man.
Third, these surviving wildlife species carry more pathogens into simplified ecosystems. Pathogens tend to “dilute” themselves in complex, unimpeded, ecosystems.
The deadly impact of COVID-19 on lives on the planet
The rapid increase in the human population and their livestock means they are increasingly interacting with wildlife species and the pathogens they carry.
Today, almost every single ecosystem on the planet is exploited by 7.8 billion people. In most of these ecosystems, livestock has followed human beings and are now much more abundant than wild mammals.
There are 4.7 billion pigs, goats, cattle and sheep, and 23.7 billion chickens on Earth! We live on an ever more “cultivated planet,” with new assemblages of species and new challenges and opportunities for pathogens to move from one species to another.
At the moment, Covid-19, which is caused by Coronavirus, has become a deadly virus that has almost taken 419,489 lives. Furthermore, it disrupted the whole world in such a way where the world is stuck and standstill.
The figure shows how drastically it has spread in India and went up to 10000+ within a month only.
Whereas the COVID-19 infected total population in Pakistan within a month has gone above 5000.
Coronavirus and its impact on the environment
Even though this pandemic is affecting the world economy, education, and daily life, it is certainly keeping the impact, either in a good or in a bad way, on the environment.
From the satellite images, it has been seen that the air quality has been improved immensely in every country as the industries shut down their operations; transports are hardly being on the road.
It is expected that this year the greenhouse gas emission would decline and reduce global warming. In India, it has been observed that the percentage of nitrogen dioxide went down to 15per cubic meter from 52 per cubic meter. During the first week of March, the nitrogen dioxide levels declined by 40-50% in the cities like Mumbai, Pune, and Ahmedabad.
Because of the industrial revolution, China is one of the world’s biggest polluters, which resulted in them polluting their air in such a way whereby the satellite shows the smokes only rather than the picture.
During the lockdown period, china has emitted 25 percent less carbon. In contrast, the NO2 levels did not rise in 2020 after the Chinese New Year.
Besides waste management issue is one of the most concerningproblems in the present time, because all the municipalities have stopped the recycling process due to this pandemic.
South Asia is well known for its farming as it is one of the prime biodiversity. It creates a significant impact on the food production of a nation. Due to this pandemic situation, farmers are not able to grow foods for the people.
Due to the industrialization of this modern world, humankind is destroying forests day by day at an alarming rate. More than 100 million hectors of tropical forests have been destroyed.
Destructing the forests, people from the villagers start living on the edge of deforested zones, and they start their livelihood by killing wild animals and sending their infected meats to the cities. Wild animals contain so many different types of viruses.
And that is how the Ebola virus has emerged among humanity. It has been assumed that Covid-19 has also been caused by deforestation, destroying the wildlife habitat, natural disasters, and locust invasion.
Forests and wildlife are in a significant threat. These deforestations and other environmental destructions not only changing the climate drastically but also causing natural disasters like cyclones and floods more frequently.
Recently one of the dangerous and historic cyclones named Amphan has caused massive damage to India and Bangladesh. The speed of the cyclone was 260km/h, which is very strong.
The Sunderban, the world’s largest mangrove forest, was one of the main reasons why Bangladesh was not struck very hard.
Like the recent cyclone,Amphan had been considered as one of the most robust cyclones of all time, due to Sunderban, the heat of the cyclone did not make any substantial impact or damage to Bangladesh, playing the role of a mother for Bangladesh in any disaster.
Climate change also plays an essential role in excessive rainfall in tropical areas, which plays a vital role in the breeding of locust.
Due to climate changes, the invasion of locust has been increased many folds in recent years, which have reduced the production of crops in different places of the world.
Biodiversity is the diversity of all life from microscopic to species. Our ecosystem runs on a recycling process. If any of the species goes extinct or missing, the whole ecosystem or creates a massive impact on the biodiversity.
Current situation and future perspectives
Seeing the current situation, we can say that biodiversity is in a significant threat. And people are solely responsible for this situation now.
Abusing wild animals and disrupting the wildlife ecosystem has created this situation much tougher. For that, necessary steps should be taken to save biodiversity and the climate.
Promoting awareness and discussions among people about the importance of biodiversity is the need of the hour. People should know that how it is creating an impact on the environment, how the wild animal abuse is destroying the ecosystem, the natural disasters which have been increased in recent years due to this disruption of the biodiversity. So that adequate measures can be adopted to save the ecosystem and its diversity.
We need to understand and adapt quicker than ever; the COVID 19 outbreak has insights related to global biodiversity depletion crises. Of this cause, preserving nature and habitats is our only antidote for the future.
It is no longer just a matter of ecological thing but of being mindful that we will have a balanced ecosystem if we wish to reduce the incidence of pandemics.
Biodiversity depletion also means that we are missing much of nature’s chemicals and genomes before discovery, of the sort that has already given enormous health benefits to humanity.
Traditional medicine remains an essential part of health care, especially in primary health care. Views are beginning to be noticed that “the world after Covid-19 won’t be the same” So let’s embed greater respect for nature in this “next world.” That’s our most significant immediate help!
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