UN issues warning to Governments around the world

Wildfires, severe weather and noise pollution among critical environmental threats listed by UN warning

UN issues warning to Governments around the world background

The UN is calling on governments around the world to take action to reduce noise pollution, tackle wildfires and do all they can to avoid disturbing natural cycles.

It has been revealed that an average 423 million hectares of the land, the equivalent of the entire European Union, burned from wildfires between 2002 and 2016. This number only grew exponentially as wildfires have not only increased in severity, but also frequency. Each year Australia faces record breaking bushfires, with the 2020 bushfire lasting for nearly a year, and causing over 11 million hectares of land to be burned to ash. Most recently, Spain faced their largest wildfire on record, which resulted in nearly 8000 hectares of forested land to succumb to flame. 

 

But wildfire damage is not just limited to what is lost to the fires, but also the side effects of such a destructive disaster. Wildfires generate black carbon, polluting water sources and increasing greenhouse effects. As well as this, the loss of vegetation means land is less stable, resulting in landslides.



Noise pollution, while less of a global threat, is still a pollutant that causes numerous health issues to nature and humanity without discrimination. High amounts of noise levels, especially within urban areas, can cause chronic annoyance and disturbance of sleep. This can lead to hearing impairment, heart diseases and diabetes. 

As well as affecting people, excessive noise pollution is a threat to the local ecosystem, causing disruption to animal communication and habitats. 

This increase of urbanisation, sub-urbanisation and noise disturbance can result in phenological changes that can often be detrimental to ecosystems the world round. Phenological changes are disruptions in the timing of life cycle stages in natural cycles. This can include plants and animals' use of temperature, day-length or rainfall cues for when leaves unfold or die, when animals migrate, or when flowers bear fruit. 

These changes are increasingly occurring throughout due to climate change, which is pushing plants and animals out of sync with natural processes. 

 

 

The UN is pleading with governments, including the UK, to take action and help reduce their impact on climates and ecosystems within their countries. The UK has been taking steps to reduce their impact, which includes development of green zones for ecosystems, and introducing green paths for animals to take so that developing motorways are not cutting off key migratory paths.