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UN: “We close wet markets, hence lethal viruses for humans”

Onu: «Chiudiamo i wet market, da lì i virus letali per l’uomo» Onu: «Chiudiamo i wet market, da lì i virus letali per l’uomo»

These are the markets widespread in Asia, where animals are slaughtered alive and sold. Due to very poor hygiene conditions, it is precisely here that several epidemics originated, such as that of SARS

Stop at the wet markets , where the animals come slaughtered alive : Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, head of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, calls for these wildlife markets to be banned globally, precisely to prevent future pandemics . China has already issued a temporary ban on markets where animals such as civets, live wolf cubs and pangolins are kept in small cages, often in precarious hygiene conditions, where diseases are incubated which can then infect the human population.

Many scientists have urged Beijing to make this ban permanent.

Taking as an example Ebola in central-western Africa and the Nipah virus in eastern Asia, Mrema has stated that there is a very clear connection between the destruction of nature and new diseases which affect man. «It would be nice to ban wet markets like China and some other countries did. But we must also remember that there are communities, particularly in low-income rural areas, for example in Africa, which depend on wild animals for the livelihood of millions of people. So unless you find alternatives for these communities, there could be a danger of triggering an illegal trade of wild animals, which is already leading to the brink of extinction of some species. We must consider how to balance these issues and stop illegal trade in the future “.

Jinfeng Zhou, secretary general of the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation , also invited the authorities to make the ban on wildlife markets permanent. “A global ban on wet markets will protect wildlife conservation and will protect us from improper contact with wildlife “, has explained. “Over 70% of human diseases come from wildlife and many species are threatened”.

Mrema says he is optimistic that the whole world will take the consequences of the destruction of nature more seriously after the Covid epidemic – 19. «Preserving ecosystems and biodiversity will help us reduce the prevalence of some of these diseases. The way we cultivate, the way we use soils, the way we protect coastal ecosystems and the way we treat our forests will either compromise the future or help us live longer, “he explained. “At the end of the years 90, the Nipah virus broke out in Malaysia. The virus was believed to be the result of forest fires, deforestation and drought which caused the transfer of fruit bats , natural vectors of the virus from forests to peat farms. Bats infected farmers, which infected other humans. Biodiversity loss is becoming a key factor in the spread of some of these viruses. Large-scale deforestation, habitat degradation, intensification of agriculture, food systems, trade in species and plants, anthropogenic climate change: all these are factors that lead to the loss of biodiversity and new diseases. Two thirds of infections and emerging diseases come from wildlife “.

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