Damage to environment threatens human existence: UNEP

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United Nations, Oct 26 (UNI) Failure to address environmental challenges including climate change, rate of extinction of species and growing population could threaten human existence on the planet, United Nations Environment Program has stated.

''The human population is living far beyond its means and inflicting damage to the environment that could pass points of no return,'' a UNEP report said.

The report was released yesterday in the fourth Global Environmental Outlook of the UN Environment Program.

''The human population is now so large that the amount of resources needed to sustain it exceeds what is available at current consumption patterns,'' Many biologists and climate scientists have concluded that human activities have become a dominant influence on the Earth's climate and ecosystems.

Population growth combined with unsustainable consumption has resulted in an increasingly stressed planet where natural disasters and environmental degradation endanger people, plants and animal species.

Persistent problems include a rapid rise of ''dead zones'', where marine life no longer can be supported because pollutants like runoff fertilizers deplete oxygen, the report said.

Effective measures were taken to reduce air pollutants and that Brazil had made efforts towards aforestation, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner observed.

The study said there were ''persistent'' issues such as pressure on resources, decline of fish stocks and loss of available fresh water and fertile land which were not being dealt with.

Two and a half times more fish were being caught than the oceans could produce in a sustainable manner, and that the level of fish stocks classed as collapsed had roughly doubled over the past 20 years, to 30 per cent.

Mr Steiner warned of a global collapse of all species being fished by 2050, if fishing around the world continued at its current pace.

''The systematic destruction of the Earth's natural and nature-based resources has reached a point where the economic viability of economies is being challenged - and where the bill we hand to our children may prove impossible to pay,'' he said.

UNI

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