One of the most significant tests currently facing humanity is environmental degradation, including desertification, deforestation, climate change, and pollution. Environmental degradation is a serious concern since it contributes to resource scarcity and increases societies’ vulnerability to adverse climate changes. Consequently, it is a major factor fueling human-wildlife conflict and tensions in various communities. According to Choudhary et al. (2015), environmental degradation is the undesirable disturbance to the environment leading to the decline of environmental resources such as soil, air, and water, the ruining of ecosystems, and the extinction of wildlife. Human disturbance is the core cause of environmental degradation. Consequently, pollution also causes environmental degradation through toxic substances rendering it unhealthy. Pollution can come from agricultural runoff, vehicle emissions, chemical releases from industries, and poor harvesting of natural resources. Furthermore, overconsumption of natural resources leads to environmental degradation, diminishing the efficiency of essential ecosystem services. This results in increased susceptibility to catastrophes, and in turn, natural disasters further degrade the environment.
A degraded environment due to factors such as climate change, air pollution, and water pollution poses grave dangers to human health. This is because the environment plays a core role in the sustenance of life on earth and directly impacts the human population’s well-being and health status. Gwangndi et al. (2016) posit that adverse climate change results in fluctuations in the physical environment or biota, which have substantial harmful effects on the resilience, composition, or productivity of managed or natural ecosystems or on the processes of human health and socio-economic systems. Additionally, polluted environments due to human activities lead to diseases and malnutrition, reduced life span, and morbidity. Therefore, the Stockholm Declaration highlights steps and action needed to be taken by community members, governments, and industries to safeguard the environment from degradation to safeguard the wellness and the right to health of all people (Chasek, 2020).
Choudhary, D., Chauhan, G., & Kushwah, Y. (2015). Environmental Degradation: Causes, Impacts and Mitigation. In National Seminar on Recent Advancements in Protection of Environment and its Management Issues (NSRAPEM-2015). Maharishi Arvind College of Engineering and Technology, Kota, Rajasthan, India. Retrieved 19 October 2021, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279201881_Environmental_Degradation_Causes_Impacts_and_Mitigation.
Gwangndi, M., Muhammad, Y., & Tagi, S. (2016). The Impact of Environmental Degradation on Human Health and Its Relevance to The Right to Health Under International Law. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 12(10), 485. https://doi.org/10.19044/esj.2016.v12n10p485
Chasek, P. (2020). Stockholm and the Birth of Environmental Diplomacy. International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Winnipeg. Dostupno na: https://www. iisd. org/system/files/2020-09/still-one-earth-stockholmdiplomacy_0. pdf (Preuzeto: 22. svibnja 2021.).