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COVID – 19 Pandemic: Are We in the Correct Path of Development?

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With the spread of COVID – 19 many countries have locked down and around 30% of people are indoors at present.  This has led to minimize pollution and the earth has gained an opportunity to relax for a while.  

COVID 19 has given an opportunity, to open our eyes and think back for a while to see what we have been doing for the sake of development in the past destroying the environment? Are we in the correct path? Is the first question that everybody should ask considering the situation worldwide. Then identify where we went wrong and learn lessons for future planning in betterment of human lives.

The basic objective of development is meant to improve the quality of life of people, so that people  can lead healthy, happy and safe lives.   Is this basic objective met by present day development? at least in the so called developed countries?

Economic development alone cannot last long ,  was learnt long before and therefore social and environment aspects were incorporated as the triple bottom line of development. Are we adequately addressing social and environment aspects in development is the next question that everybody is raising. How can we address this situation?

Sustainable Development – defined as “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” was highlighted in the recent past to address the above issues and minimize negative impacts of economic development, although this concept was inbuilt in the Asian culture from its evolvement.  

Now the world is working towards achieving 17 sustainable development goals. Are we dedicated and working hard enough to achieve them by 2030? and minimize global disasters in future?

Covid -19 has taught many lessons to human beings. Identification of correct priorities of nations, pros and cons of globalization, the importance of public health services, besides curative health services, efficient use of available limited resources and resource pooling. The importance of self sufficiency as much as possible, importance of maintaining diversity among nations are some of them. Diversity among nations brings in many diverse solutions to problems.

Inter-sectoral collaboration, new low cost technical innovations, wise use of technology, leaning lessons from others, timely planning, alternative solutions and methods, taking decisons based on scientific information, played a tremendous role in curbing this issue.

Besides that the importance of indigenous medical knowledge and practices, indigenous food systems to improve immunity in people too were identified as beneficial.   

Shouldn’t we think knew of our lifestyles, minimize wastage and lead simple lives meeting our requirements???, which preserves our health and conserves the nature removing the excessive pressure on nature.

Will the nations take the lessons learnt, positively and step in to a new productive pathway with innovative thinking patterns to prevent future disasters?? Be adequately prepared and understand that humanity comes first. It is always important to understand the complicated nature of the environment and that humans are only part of nature, where we will not been able to control the nature as we wish. Repercussions in trying to do so will be immense.  

Let’s preserve the Environment, live wisely to minimize future disasters and lead healthy happy lives.

Sujeewa Fernando ,Assistant Director , ( Pollution Control and Chemical Management Division), Ministry of Environment & Wildlife Resources