Human Damage To Environment Faster Than Its Recovery, UN Study Reveals

First Posted: May 20, 2016 05:36 AM EDT

Human degradation of the world's natural resources is faster than the planet's ability to absorb the damage or recover, according to a new and in depth environmental research conducted by the UN. The study results also imply that the deterioration rate of the environment is increasing globally, in spite of cooperative efforts to persuade nations to take improvement measures for essential natural resources such as seas, water and land.

The UN study, which included a team of over 1200 scientists, 160 governments and hundreds of scientific institutions brought together by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), revealed that without severe action the prosperity of the developed nations will be difficult to maintain, which will also have grave implications for poorer countries. Radical steps are needed to fight the increasing rate of environmental damage to marine life, biodiversity, land and water sources.  

Water sources are under an ever rising threat from increasing levels of consumption, rapid urbanization, climate change, population growth and the degradation of lands that earlier offered a natural replenishment of water resources. The study by UN was intended to help the world's effort to fight climate change and environmental threats by highlighting the obstacles of improving people's lives in developing countries and addressing global warming, while there is a continuing pressure on food resources.

"If current trends continue, and the world fails to enact solutions that improve patterns of production and consumption, if we fail to use natural resources sustainably, then the state of the world's environment will continue to decline," said Achim Steiner, Executive Director UNEP. Steiner further added that the means to combat the threat exist in developed countries but were not adequately used. The study found that basic measures to reduce air pollution, marine ecosystem damage and land degradation, among others, were still not being taken.

Furthermore, the research observed that global carbon output was still on the rise in spite of the global agreement in Paris last December to cut greenhouse gas emissions, which aggravate climate change and result in increased floods and drought that put a strain on the ability of developing nations to feed their population. According to the study, global warming is shrinking Andes glaciers that are an important water resource for millions of people.

As per UNEP, the scope of future development has more potential to change in developing countries in comparison to developed countries, because the latter pursued economic growth at the cost of environment and problems have built up over centuries. If developing countries follow the same path for growth and development, then the threat of an irreparable environmental damage will increase. The study authors suggested an increased awareness of the environmental effect of development. 

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