Why we should care about the health of the environment

Earth is the only place with ideal conditions for human existence. Nature provides absolutely everything for our physical and mental well-being. Z the population is increasing at an unprecedented rate over the past century, the exploitation of nature has also reached unsustainable levels; so high that many natural resources and living things are now on the verge of extinction. Sustainable development has not always been a priority, and as a result we live in a polluted or even contaminated environment that harms our health. Many health problems and deaths worldwide as a result of an unhealthy environment can be prevented or drastically reduced through efforts to improve the quality of the environment. Now more than ever, it is important that we understand and take action to protect the health of our environment.

Environmental health issues

We live in a world with pretty much unlimited life possibilities. Naturally, some people have more options when deciding where to live than others. The leading criteria the best places to live usually include affordability, job opportunities, home value, proximity to family and friends, safety, good schools, climate and weather conditions. However, this did not happen to the beginning of the 20th century that people began to realize how air pollution can cause a breach in the atmosphere. In fact, it was the beginning of an academic discipline created to try to understand the environmental threats, mainly caused by human activities, and their consequences for the environment, and to find a way to reduce the negative impact on nature and keep the Earth in the best possible condition for future generations.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines public health as “the art and science of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through organized community effort.” Thus, public health includes health protection and welfare of the entire population. These populations may be represented by smaller local areas, larger regions, or even the entire world.

Quality of the environment in which we live affects us every day without even realizing it. The food we eat, the places we live, and the communities we interact with on a daily basis affect our physical and mental well-being. It is part of a broad area of ​​research called “Environmental hygiene”, a discipline that – as the name suggests – addresses every aspect of the environment that can affect our health.

6 sources responsible for the problem of environmental protection

1. Air pollution

Pollutants are a mixture natural and man-made elements, molecules and particles with adverse effects on human health. Inhalation of air polluted by nearby factories or heavy traffic affects the lungs and heart, causing asthma and even increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 600 thousand children die every year from respiratory infections caused by air pollution. 9 out of 10 people breathe polluted air, resulting in nearly 9 million deaths each year.

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2. Water pollution

Access to clean water it is a common human right, but unfortunately it is still a privilege for many. There are 780 million people missing in the world access to safe drinking water and a staggering 2.5 billion people, equivalent to nearly one-third of the world’s population, lack access to basic acceptable sanitation services such as bathrooms. More than 2,000 children die every day from diseases related to inadequate water and sanitation.

3. Toxic substances and hazardous waste

Toxic substances can be in discarded materials with properties that may harm the environment and human health, such as heavy metals or chemicals. Such waste is often stored in landfills or simply thrown away as garbage, polluting the environment. Man-made production of chemicals increased dramatically between 1930 and 2000, from one million to approximately 400 million tons per year, and this trend shows no sign of slowing. The average person ingests about 300 man-made chemicals, and according to the WHO, exposure to them leads to more than 1.6 million deaths every year

4. Climate change and natural disasters

Climate change is the single greatest threat to human health 21st century. Rising global temperatures and changing rainfall patterns, leading to extreme weather events such as cyclones, hurricanes, droughts and wildfires, are having a catastrophic impact on entire communities and infrastructure, in many cases leading to loss of life. The 2010 Haiti earthquake was very memorable, lasting only about 30 seconds, worth over 160,000 livesmany more injured or injured.

5. Infrastructure issues

The infrastructure represents one of the main pillars of quality life. Medical centers and hospitals must be integrated into the wider community. However, local, state and federal governments must commit more resources to overcome infrastructure problems and should make it a priority.

Better infrastructure naturally goes hand in hand with better access to healthcare. Tedros Achanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said: “It is completely unacceptable that half the world still lacks access to the most essential health services.”

The danger of an unhealthy environment

As Anne Stauffer, Director of Strategy and Campaigns at the European non-profit Alliance for Health and the Environment (HEAL) rightly said says: “There isn’t that much of a difference between 2012 and 2020, in fact the urgency of dealing with pollution and climate change has only increased.” She also points out that “one of the main causes of the problem is that our entire way of production, consumption and lifestyle is based on fossil fuels”.

2019 year the report The European Environment Agency found that heat waves are the deadliest type of extreme weather in Europe. It also shows that under the current scenario of global warming, heat deaths could exceed 130,000 per year. Other statistics it is estimated that 23% of all deaths (26% of deaths of children aged 0-5) are caused by environmental problems that could have been completely prevented.

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What can we do to improve the state of the environment?

  • Afforestation: More plants and trees help absorb carbon dioxide and reduce its content in the atmosphere, help build new ecosystems, help with the demand for wood
  • Reduce your use of plastics: Plastic waste accounts for 80% of all marine pollution. Researchers worry that by 2050 plastic may even outnumber all the fish in the sea.
  • Practice sustainable or regenerative agriculture: Regenerative agriculture and other methods sustainable agriculture helps reduce emissions and improve soil health. Agriculture responsible for 80% of soil degradation in Europe alone. With unhealthy soil, there will not be enough food of sufficient quality for a growing population.
  • Electric cars: Electric cars are not only a great alternative to gasoline-powered cars, but they can also reduce a car’s carbon footprint by up to 70%. In addition, these types of vehicles do not produce the same level of exhaust noise as gasoline vehicles, which can help in highly populated areas where noise pollution is already a concern.
  • Rainwater collection: Rainwater harvesting helps manage storm runoff and prevents erosion, flooding, and poor water quality in reservoirs. Using rainwater as a source for irrigation helps to replenish underground water reserves.
  • Energy saving: A simple switch to energy-saving light bulbs can reduce electricity consumption in homes by 25-80%. Adopting this and other energy-saving techniques significantly reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, which are still the primary source of energy worldwide
  • Reduction of industrial emissions and waste: Earth will become uninhabitable if fossil fuel emissions are not reduced soon. Most of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the past 150 years have been created by human activity.

Final thoughts

EEnvironmental health has never been more important. All we have to do is take care of our planet. Many may feel too little to stop climate change or environmental tragedies, but there are many ways we can help and take part in this change. To live longer and improve people’s quality of life, it is necessary to maintain a healthy environment.

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