This world has place for everyone. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to it or at least experiences it the same way as the select few of us can. Even we, who are privileged enough to walk on land while breathing in clean air and drinking pure water, our existence would be threatened if human activities destroyed the environment.
Let’s take an example of what I mean here. If you were ever to visit some places, you might have experienced how people dispose of their daily garbage on the side of roads without taking them to any trash bins nearby. This is just one among many things that indicate their relatively low awareness about environmental health compared to other countries with better education systems. They are more aware of protecting their ecosystem from the after effects of harmful human interference.
If you see garbage left on the roads, the environment is dirty and not maintained well by human hands. This can be bad news for us because there are tons of dangers lurking beneath the surface, which we might never know until they hit us straight in our faces.
How does the environment affect humans?
For example, air pollution can make air unfit to breathe; toxic waste contaminates water sources and soil on a molecular level rendering them unusable for agricultural purposes; radioactive waste from power plants leaks into rivers or seas, making them biologically harmful so people cannot use them as a water source anymore, etc.
These damages to our ecosystem may not affect everyone equally but will indeed have some effect on civilization as a whole. It is essential that we study environmental health to assess the current state of our ecosystem and come up with ways to protect it from further destruction. So that, in the future, everyone can have access to this world and live in it without jeopardizing their health.
What is environmental health?
Environmental health is defined as
The science and art devoted to preventing disease by protecting the surroundings from harmful physical, chemical and biological agents that affect human health.
In simple terms, it is a field concerned with identifying, preventing, and controlling factors in the environment that potentially disrupt an individual’s everyday living conditions.
It ensures the protection of ecosystems which is crucial for a survivable planet. Therefore, the main objective of environmental health research is to establish a sustainable ecosystem by adapting strategies for environmental management that will address or reduce the impact of factors that are hazardous to human health.
Why is environmental health important?
A healthy environment is essential to continued survival of humans and other species on Planet Earth. As we all know no other planet in our Galaxy as per our research can support any life form. It is because of this unique Environment of Earth that millions of life forms flourish and grow.
If this environment is continuously destroyed by human interference, life forms will continue to perish just like the extinct species on our planet. This is why it is essential to maintain a balanced environment.
The major causes that affect environmental health
The primary source of environmental interference is considered to be pollution caused because of reckless human behaviour. Pollution is defined as
The release of chemical, physical, biological, radioactive substances or heat into the environment in quantities or concentrations which may cause harm.
A wide range of polluting agents can potentially threaten our environment and existence. These pollutants, including chemicals, radiation, soil degradation, etc., have adverse effects on human health. Many countries report a high disease burden due to water-borne diseases caused by polluted drinking water. This has led to increased prevalence of cancer & cardiovascular diseases too.
What is the role of environmental health in community health?
Environmental contamination is the main issue that results in significant public health concerns. It is defined as
Environmental exposure to substances or mixtures of substances, which are foreign to an organism and result either directly or indirectly from human activity.
A study conducted by Jha et al. (2002) revealed that more than 15,000 deaths annually due to air pollution; with outdoor air pollutants such as PM 10 & SO 2 leading to about 13000 of these deaths while indoor pollutants like PM 10, NO 2, CO & O 3 caused around 2000 of them.
Therefore, the World Health Organization has identified environmental health as a critical determinant for sustainable development. Addressing environmental contamination will reduce the risk for several diseases and improve general health conditions.
What are the environmental factors that affect human health?
Many environmental factors can affect human health. These factors can include the air we breathe, the water we drink, and food. These elements can be affected by pollution, climate change, and natural disasters.
1. Air Pollution
It is a significant concern for environmental factors and human health and can cause respiratory problems, heart disease, and other health issues.
2. Water Pollution
It can cause gastrointestinal issues, reproductive issues, and cancer. And food contamination can lead to a variety of illnesses.
3. Climate change
It is another primary concern for the environment and human health. As the Earth’s climate changes, it can cause several health problems. For example, extreme weather conditions can lead to injuries and death. And climate changes can also affect the quality of the air, water, and food we consume.
4. Natural disasters
They are another concern for environmental and human health. These events can cause physical and psychological damage, as well as illness. For example, flooding can contaminate water supplies with harmful bacteria, and earthquakes can cause injuries and spread toxic gases.
Importance of Environmental Health Education
Environmental Health Education is the need of the hour and need to be encouraged. It should be introduced as a vocational training imparted to all citizens and not only to students. It will help us be more responsible towards our environment and care for our environment. It will enable the local community in each and every area to take a joint action to protect and conserve the environment.
Our environment may be the key to our health. Still, the air, water, and food we consume are all exposed to harmful chemicals that can cause diseases in humans if not properly disposed of by our bodies over time. However, there is hope for this situation!
A study on environmental health will help us learn how better protect ourselves from these toxins through proactive measures such as reducing exposure or investing money into green cleansing products like reusable cloths (made out of natural material), which have been shown ineffective at removing certain substances found within them but could still usefully reduce overall costs while offering some
Also, check what is environmental safety.