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Maldivian president says respect for nature needed to prevent disasters like COVID-19

Oct 02, 2020

Male (Maldives), October 2: Maldivian President Ibrahim Solih said disrespect towards the natural world could unleash further disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic, local media reported on Friday.
"It is a zoonotic disease COVID-19 that has caused this pandemic and brought the world to a standstill," President Solih said in a speech at the virtually held United Nations Biodiversity Summit held on Wednesday.
"If we continue to disrespect the boundaries of the natural world, we will face similar - and possibly worse - consequences," he said.
President Solih said human activity determines the health of the climate and planet in the era of the Anthropocene, and called for sustainable and restorative forms of development.
"At least 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year, and make up 80 percent of all marine debris from surface waters to deep-sea sediments," he said.
Solih said the Maldives would phase out the single-use plastics by 2023, while reforming its waste management systems and transitioning towards renewable energy.
The Indian Ocean island nation has moved to preserve its ecosystem by designating at least one island, reef and mangrove as a protected area in each of the country's 26 atolls, the president said.
"Some of these are now eligible to be listed as UNESCO world heritage sites," he said.
Source: Xinhua News Agency