Space debris threatens all humanity: UN

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Humanity is in danger from the excess of space debris left by satellites, warned the Institute for Environment and Human Security of the United Nations University (UNU-EHS).

The 2023 Interconnected Disaster Risk Report, presented yesterday, assured that space pollution is a breaking point that endangers humanity.

These satellites affect the natural disaster warning system, leaving the entire planet vulnerable.

“Satellites have an expiration date, they don't last forever. Now there are more of us who send than those we collect. It is a pollution issue,” she explained in an interview with Excelsior Liliana Narváez, senior researcher at UNU-EHS.

According to figures from NASA and ESA, there are about 34,100 objects in Earth's orbit.

Only 25% are satellites that are in use, the rest is garbage, for example pieces of broken satellites or parts of rockets that were used to launch the satellites and that are floating in space.

“There is a lot of information that we receive from satellites. The breaking point of space contamination speaks to the possibility that it is becoming more and more real that we are approaching a point where the number of satellites we have is at risk due to this situation,” Narváez added.

Satellite debris is one of the six breaking points established by the UNU-EHS regarding the current climate crisis.

These are accelerated extinctions, depletion of groundwater (aquifers), melting of mountain glaciers, space pollution, unbearable heat, an uninsured future and satellite debris.

These points put humanity at a point of no return, which threatens the world as we know it today, the report presented yesterday insisted.

“We send and send and send and we don't pick up. It is incredible the number of satellites that become like ghosts, like zombie satellites are there, they are in orbit and it becomes a threat to those that are functioning,” added Liliana Narváez.

“The risk is for everyone, so we should all be responsible for what happens with these satellites, that is why we should be more aware of this breaking point and what we would be losing,” concluded the UNU-EHS.

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