Covid-19 a warning to world against unsustainable food habits: Javadekar

United Nations, October 1 (IANS): The Covid-19 pandemic is a warning to the world against unsustainable food habits and unregulated exploitation of nature, according to India's Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar.

"The emergence of Covid-19 has emphasized the fact that unregulated exploitation of natural resources coupled with unsustainable food habits and consumption pattern lead to destruction (of the) system that supports human life," he told the UN's Biodiversity Summit on Wednesday in a pre-recorded video speech.

Covid-19 is reported to have spread through a market in China where wild animals were being sold for food.

Quoting the Vedic scriptural exhortation, "Prakriti Rakshati Rakshita" - if you protect nature, nature will protect you - he said.

"Since time immemorial, India has a culture of not just conserving and protecting nature, but living in harmony with nature."

Mahatma Gandhi's ethos of non-violence and protection of animals have been incorporated in India's constitution and laws, Javadekar said.

"It is due to these beliefs and ethos that India, with only 2.4 per cent of the earth's land area hosts around eight per cent of the world's recorded species," he said.

The Minister further that during the last decade India increased its tree and forest cover to early 25 per cent of the country's geographic area.

"India aims to restore 26 million hectares of degraded and deforested land, and achieve land-degradation neutrality by 2030," he said.

India has doubled the number of tigers it hosts ahead of the deadline of 2022, he said.

According to the Indian government, there are 2,967 tigers in the country, which is 70 per cent of the animals in the world.

Leaders of 13 countries with tigers undertook in 2010 at a meeting in Russia known as the Petersburg Summit to double by 2022 the number of the animal facing extinction.