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UN Claims Environmental Threats To The World are Result Of Lethargic Laws

Experts urged governments to address hiccups that had undermined enforcement of legislation that promote environmental governance

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earth, digital
Researchers found high concentrations of nickel in the Sydney Basin's mud-rock - surprising because there are no local sources of the element. Pixabay

Environmental threats like climate change and pollution are linked to lethargic enforcement of laws governing management of vital ecosystems, says a report released on Thursday by UN Environment.

According to the first ever global assessment of environmental rule of law, the quest to maintain a healthy and clean planet was being undermined by weak enforcement of legislation to protect it from natural and human-induced threats.

“This report solves the mystery of why problems such as pollution, declining biodiversity and climate change persist despite the proliferation of environmental laws in recent decades,” said David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment.

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Environmental threats like climate change and pollution are linked to lethargic enforcement of laws governing management of vital ecosystems, says a report released on Thursday by UN Environment. Wikimedia

“Unless the environmental rule of law is strengthened, even seemingly rigorous rules are destined to fail and the fundamental human right to a healthy environment will go unfulfilled,” he was cited as saying by Xinhua news agency.

The UN Environment report said that rapid development of environmental laws and treaties since 1972 had not translated into their enactment thus escalating threats to ecosystems that sustain livelihoods.

It said more than 1,100 environmental treaties and legal frameworks had been developed by national governments since 1972 when the UN environment agency was formed.

At the same time, donor support and robust domestic funding to facilitate development of new environmental laws had been consistent in the last four decades, but it had not been matched with their enforcement, said the report.

It noted that poor coordination among government agencies, weak institutional capacity, lack of access to information, corruption and limited civic engagement contributed to weak enforcement of environmental rule of laws.

“We have the machinery in the form of laws, regulations and agencies to govern our environment sustainably,” said Joyce Msuya, UN Environment Acting Executive Director.

“Political will is now critical to making sure our laws work for the planet. This first global assessment on environmental rule of law highlights the work those standing on the right side of history-and how many nations are stronger and safer as a result,” she added.

Environment
The report revealed that 88 countries had adopted the constitutional right to a healthy environment while an additional 65 had enshrined environmental protection in their constitutions.

The report revealed that 88 countries had adopted the constitutional right to a healthy environment while an additional 65 had enshrined environmental protection in their constitutions.

Also Read: ‘Red Rot’ Infestation In Sugarcane Leads India Into Trouble

Likewise, over 350 environmental courts and tribunals had been established in more than 50 countries while over 60 countries had some legal provisions for citizen’s right to environmental information.

Experts urged governments to address hiccups that had undermined enforcement of legislation that promote environmental governance. (IANS)

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Toxicity in Air Affects Children’s Brain Development: UNICEF

UNICEF has warned that air pollution affects a child's brain development

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Brain Development
According to UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, air pollution toxicity can affect children's brain development. Pixabay

Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore has warned that air pollution toxicity can affect children’s brain development and called for urgent action to deal with the crisis gripping India and South Asia.

“I saw first-hand how children continue to suffer from the dire consequences of air pollution,” Fore, who recently visited India, said on Wednesday.

“The air quality was at a crisis level. You could smell the toxic fog even from behind an air filtration mask,” she added.

Air pollution affects children most severely and its effects continue all their lives because they have smaller lungs, breathe twice as fast as adults and lack immunities, Fore said.

Brain Development
Air pollution damages brain tissue and undermines brain development in babies and young children. Pixabay

She added that it “damages brain tissue and undermines cognitive development in babies and young children, leading to lifelong consequences that can affect their learning outcomes and future potential. There is evidence to suggest that adolescents exposed to higher levels of air pollution are more likely to experience mental health problems”.

“Unicef is calling for urgent action to address this air quality crisis,” affecting 620 million children in South Asia.

Also Read- Snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir to Help Bring Pollution Down in Neighbouring States

Schools were closed in Delhi till Tuesday because of the severe environmental situation caused by post-harvest burning of stubble in neighbouring states.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) on Sunday touched 625, considered “severe plus” level. (IANS)