COVID-19: a wake-up call to protect planetary health
Set from the perspective of planetary health, the objective of this chapter is to examine the trends set in motion by Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), attempting to discuss the long-term environmental and humanitarian implications. The emergence of zoonotic diseases has underscored that risk-based interventions need to be designed from the perspective of planetary health. The pandemic response must account for its implications on humans and the planet. To address this subject, the chapter discusses emerging infectious diseases in the context of declining planetary health and the COVID-19 pandemic. The chapter underscores the inadequacy of the transient improvement in some environmental quality parameters and short-term decrease in global greenhouse gas emissions. The inevitable global waste crisis arising from increasing use of plastic and other nonbiodegradable materials in the context of COVID-19 is discussed. Inequalities and vulnerabilities, in light of emerging humanitarian concerns, on account of the COVID-19 pandemic are examined. The need for a long-term vision and recommendations that could potentially address the key concerns flagged in the chapter are then discussed. This chapter argues that planetary health approaches that are needed to address the multiscale issues related to environmental quality and human well-being by protecting our planet.