Friday, December 09, 2005

Human health under threat from ecosystem degradation

Human health under threat from ecosystem degradation

Threats particularly acute in poorer countries


"9 DECEMBER 2005 | BANGKOK/GENEVA -- The World Health Organization (WHO) is publishing a report, Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Health Synthesis, which represents an attempt to describe the complex links between the preservation of healthy and biodiverse natural ecosystems and human health.

"Over the past 50 years, humans have changed natural ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period in human history," said Dr LEE Jong-wook, Director-General of the World Health Organization. "This transformation of the planet has contributed to substantial net gains in health, well-being and economic development. But not all regions and groups of people have benefited equally from this process."

Approximately 60% of the benefits that the global ecosystem provides to support life on Earth (such as fresh water, clean air and a relatively stable climate) are being degraded or used unsustainably. In the report, scientists warn that harmful consequences of this degradation to human health are already being felt and could grow significantly worse over the next 50 years."

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