OUR PLANET OUR HEALTH!
Human life is well-adapted to our planet. A healthy environment is essential to optimal health and well-being. Conversely, disease and early death are often due to environmental agents called pathogens, both biological and physicochemical.
Climate change, heatwaves, floods, land degradation, and the loss of biodiversity also threaten human health in a variety of ways, both directly and indirectly.
Pollution causes or worsens respiratory illness, cancer, accidents, and deaths. Lots of early deaths occur because of air pollution, outdoor and indoor. Polluted drinking water causes lots of deaths.
Shortages of safe water, as well as flooding, have led to the displacement of people.
The rising temperatures predispose to heat-related morbidity like heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and strokes. Productivity goes down, food poisoning increases; kidney disease risk increases, as do crime rates and sleeplessness. Cardiovascular disease worsens as does the number of workplace accidents.
Changes in agricultural practices and clearing land for farming are often associated with outbreaks of debilitating disease. These include malaria, which infect millions of people every year, respectively. Other illnesses are transmitted via a contaminated water system.
Millions of children and babies die of diarrheal diseases from contamination of their food or water. It is estimated that over a million die of malaria every year, worldwide, among over 260 million cases. Most of these are children less than five years old.
ENVIRONMENTAL VS POPULATION HEALTH
It is widely accepted that a huge explosion occurred in population growth around the world, whereby the population increased over five-fold.
This has put enormous demands on the supply chain for food, water, clothing, education, jobs, and medical/social care. The resulting shortfalls, caused largely by human greed rather than actual shortages of resources, have reduced living conditions to critical levels in satellite towns and cities. Poor sanitation and hygiene facilities, lack of drinking water, and noise pollution are just some of the vicious cycles taking place as a result.
Global environmental issues that directly impact health include acid rain; ozone depletion; greenhouse gas emission; hazardous waste disposal; ocean degradation; and endangerment of biodiversity.
Industrialization is associated with the contamination of air, water, and land by multiple pollutants that have toxic effects on the lungs, brain, bone marrow, nerves, kidneys, and skin. Industrial accidents lead to the release of dramatically large amounts of pollutants into the environment, killing plant and animal life on a large scale.
Fossil fuel combustion products released high into the atmosphere via tall chimneys change into acids formed from sulfur and nitrogen oxides, to fall as acid rain or snow, destroying forests and acidifying lakes and soils. The acids may leach metals from pipes, soils, and solder, all of which could end up in human drinking water and food.
The ozone layer in the stratosphere is undergoing damage from various chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in aerosols, refrigerants, halons, and organic solvents of various types. This could allow ultraviolet radiation to reach the earth’s surface at higher levels, predisposing to skin cancer, cataracts of the eye lens, and general aging.
Fossil fuels represent the greatest source of air pollution, almost three-quarters of its use being in developed countries, who use it for power, industrial processes, transport, and heating homes. Coal plus biomass combustion contribute a major chunk of human disease due to energy production. This is because the latter is used to heat and cook by half of the world’s population. Household air pollution is severe in most low-income homes.
The dumping of hazardous wastes from highly industrialized countries in developing countries is another issue that could endanger the health of those living near the site of disposal, especially as this is unlikely to be properly regulated in such regions. Run-off from such heavily polluted dumps that can pollute rivers, lakes, and oceans.
Ocean pollution occurs most heavily near the coast, especially with large bays and seas. Both biological and chemical pollution can occur, contaminating and eventually killing off fish and beach species. This can cause seafood poisoning and epidemics of food-borne diseases.
Sound Policy is Fundamental
A failure to use sustainable development policies, in growing enough food, manufacturing goods, disposing of waste, obtaining raw materials, or transporting people and goods, leads to the breakdown of natural systems. This endangers both current health and survival, as well as leaving behind an increasingly fragile and toxic world to future generations.
“There is a powerful synergy between health, environmental protection, and sustainable resource use. Individuals and societies who share the responsibility for achieving a healthy environment and managing their resources sustainably become partners in ensuring that global cycles and systems remain unimpaired.”
Happy World Health Day from us at Troop Pharmaceuticals Ltd!!
You take care of your planet and you take care of your health!! ?
Written by: Josephine Wuraola