5th June, World Environment Day! It aims to encourage awareness on emerging environmental issues and actions for the protection of our environment. The global theme for 2019 is “Connecting People and Nature”. In line with the goal of World Environment Day, key facts and statistics about current environment on Earth surface, extracted from international reports, are compiled at the following:
- Globally, around three-fourths (75%) of terrestrial environment and two-thirds (66%) of marine environments have been “severely altered” by human activities.
- To date, more than one-thirds (33%) of world’s land surface and three-quarters (75%) of freshwater resources are devoted to crop or livestock production.
- Around 23% of land areas have seen a reduction in productivity due to land degradation.
- Each year, around 60 billion tons of renewable and non-renewable resources are extracted globally, up nearly 100% since 1980.
- Since 1980, global per capita consumption of materials has increased by 15%, while the world population has increased 2.5 billion.
- More than 85% of wetlands present in 1700 had been lost by 2000 – loss of wetlands is currently three times faster than forest loss.
- From 1980 to 2000, agricultural expansion in the tropics covered 100 million hectares, with half of it at the expense of intact forests.
- Compared with the estimated pre-industrial level, global forest area has reduced by 32%.
- Intact forests (>500 sq. km with no human pressure) has reduced by 7% from 2000-2013 in developed and developing countries.
- Around 290 million hectares (6%) of native forest cover have been lost from 1990-2015 due to clearing and wood harvesting.
- More than 2 billion people still rely on wood fuel to meet their primary energy needs.
- Globally, <1% of total land is used for mining, but the industry has significant negative impacts on biodiversity, emissions, water quality and human health.
- Around 1 million animal and plant species, i.e., one-eighths of all species, are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history.
- Globally, 33% of marine fish stocks are being harvested at unsustainable levels; 60% are maximally sustainably fished; and only 7% are underfished.
- More than 55% of ocean area has already been covered by industrial fishing.
- The extent of seagrass meadows decreased by more than 10% per decade between 1970 and 2000.
- Around half (50%) of live coral cover of reefs have been lost since 1870s.
- Since 1970 the global human population has more than doubled (from 3.7 to 7.6 billion), rising unevenly across countries and regions; and per capita gross domestic product is four times higher.
- Around 821 million people are facing food insecurity, mainly in Asia and Africa.
- 40% of the global population lacks access to clean and safe drinking water.
- More than 80% of global wastewater is discharged untreated into the environment.
- Every day, around 1 million tons of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge and other wastes from industrial facilities are dumped into the world’s waters.
- Since 1980, the extent of plastic pollution has increased by 10 times.
- Compared to their estimated natural baselines, global indicators of ecosystem extent and condition have reduced by 47%, with many continuing to decline by at least 4% per decade.
IPBES (2019), Summary for policymakers of the global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Díaz S., Settele J., Brondízio E., et al., Available from https://www.ipbes.net/system/tdf/spm_global_unedited_advance.pdf?file=1&type=node&id=35245
WWF (2018). Living Planet Report – 2018: Aiming Higher. Grooten, M. and Almond, R.E.A.(Eds). WWF, Gland, Switzerland.