A new study led by BEEAH Environmental Services that published by Elsevier in its journal “Hygiene and Environmental Health Advances” underlies that “deforestation, air, soil, water pollution, imperishable waste and other environmental issues impacting the globe are intrinsically linked to the increasing frequency and lethality of zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19.”
“Healthy environmental ecosystems create a sanitary barrier that limits the spread of disease. Additionally, protecting against the effects of climate change may play a significant role in minimizing the impact and transmission of infectious diseases. Therefore, it is vital that we increase our focus on protecting the environment to improve our resilience to future pandemics,” said Eng. Mohamed AlHosani, Chief Sustainability Officer at BEEAH Group and co-author of the study.
According to research, deforestation is reported to increase susceptibility to COVID-19 due to wildfire-induced pollution and loss of forest ecosystem services. As such, forest fragmentation and biodiversity loss have the potential to proliferate the transmission of viruses and diseases.
“Deforestation will likely lead to environmental damage and the modification of zoonotic habitats, resulting in the increased frequency of human and domestic animal contact with wildlife reservoirs of potential zoonoses. This increases the likelihood of our exposure to infectious diseases that can be transmitted between species, from animals to humans,” said Dr. Hashem Stietiya, the BEEAH Environment Services Director of Research and Development and co-author of the study.
The study highlighted the fact that poor air quality can lead to a decreased immune response, impact lung function, and further enable the spread of viruses. Underdeveloped countries are particularly at risk since inadequate environmental management is more prevalent.
Regarding waste management, the study reported that the lack of protection measures and safe disposal options raised concerns around viruses and diseases with a high infectivity rate. This is because solid waste materials could contain droplets, body fluids, and blood that may be contaminated with a viable virus. Furthermore, inadequate legal frameworks and non-adherence to environmental regulations are also aggravating the risk and vulnerability to future waves of pandemics.
BEEAH Environment Services is BEEAH Group’s environmental and sustainability consulting business. It delivers the full scope of environmental services, including air and water quality research, waste management studies, ecological surveys, environmental and safety assessments, and remediation of contaminated sites. BEEAH Environment Services partners with public and private entities to analyze, test, and assess all types of sites, considering all environmental factors to offer optimal solutions for sustainable operations.