There is a strong connection between the environment and human health. To be more precise, the habitat has a significant impact on those living in it. Interest in the physical environment as an integral part of human health dates back many, many years. The recent concern in this association is motivated by the increasing number of illnesses. Researchers have come to the conclusion that our lives depend on a healthy planet, many diseases simply representing the outcome of the maladjustment to the environment. The surroundings can affect health through physical exposures. It is, therefore, necessary to limit the negative environmental exposure and, most importantly, to protect the earth.
Why a Healthy Environment is a Paramount Necessity?
As humans, we depend on the variety of animal and plant life to keep us alive and kicking. Ecosystem products are important for good human health, not to mention productive livelihoods. Environmental-related illnesses put numerous lives in danger every year. Given that we interact with the environment all the time, it does not come as a surprise that those interactions impact our lives. More and more studies are proving that health goes beyond the individual. We damage our health by damaging the planet. Children and the elderly are especially sensitive to environmental factors. Needless to say, the effects are various. The fact of the matter is that a healthy environment is a paramount necessity and not a luxury.
Sources of Environmental Health Effects
Air pollution refers to the combination of particles and gases that can possibly reach harmful concentrations. Human activity creates air pollution. The most important sources of pollution are traffic, waste generation, and the burning of fossil fuels. Air pollution has many environmental effects, such as:
- Acid rain
- Eutrophication (excessive richness of nutrients in a water body)
- Ozone depletion
- Effects on wildlife (birth defects, reproductive failure etc.)
Changes in the quality of the air quality is not a good thing. Millions of people die as a result of air pollution, most of the mortalities being attributed to indoor air pollution.
The world’s population continues to grow and, very soon, there will not be enough food. Should the population grow by less than one-third, the overall demand would certainly amount. The competition for land and water resources to produce food is strong. This does not affect food and farming, but it is not a good thing either, as it is more and more difficult to meet the needs of people. A variety of plant and animal life are required for proper human nutrition. Not only is it important to conserve biodiversity, but also to enrich it. Consumers need healthy and safe food. In other words, they need nutritious elements that are not polluted by chemicals or pesticides.
Water quality represents a global challenge. Water does not meet the required quality standards for its intended use. This means that it is full of chemicals which can have drastic effects on human health, such as nitrates. In Belgium, for instance, tap water is completely safe to drink. Maybe so, but attention needs to be paid to the fact that this is an exception. In other countries, drinking water is generally not of high quality. There should be a high level of protection from micro-biological pollution. In this sense, regulation of pesticides, as well as their application should come first.
Ways to Protect the Living World
It is not a good idea to wait for more evidence. Action should be taken immediately, as the consequences can be catastrophic and irreversible. Good health is built on clean air, water, and safe food. We need to protect the planet because our health depends on it. It is our life-support system. Protecting the living world can be realized in many ways.
Every time someone acquires something from a store, they create a demand for raw materials. For instance, wood is necessary for the manufacturing of furniture. Goods of this kind ensure a decent standard of living, yet they end up in the trash, doing more harm than good. The more items are thrown in the trash, the more raw materials are necessary. Recycling can prevent emissions of greenhouse gases and water pollutants. Undoubtedly, using recovered materials generates less solid waste. This practice has many health benefits. When top soil, air, and water are not polluted, health conditions are not exacerbated. Recycling is an example of how health & the environment are related. Harmful chemicals and greenhouse gases are released from rubbish sitting in landfill sites. Since millions of tons of consumer products end up in the landfills, less is more for the planet.
Taking a Broader Perspective on the Environment
Human health and the environment are closely linked. The problem is that the natural world that we currently depend on is in crisis. It is not capable of sustain life as it once did. The earth is under threat, which is the reason why policy makers need to take into consideration the issue. The main priority is protecting citizens from environmental health hazards that can lead to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses. When it comes down to health and the environment, the chemical policy is at the center of attention. Chemicals present in the environment can lead to numerous concerns. Belgium, for example, developed its own strategy for promoting the substitution of hazardous chemicals, considering that European policies are inefficient in terms of addressing domestic challenges.
To sum up, there is nothing more important than having a healthy planet. A healthy environment is essential to our lives, helping us obtain the much-needed air, food, and water. We should all become friends of the earth. The impact of the degradation of the environment does not translate solely in loss of quality of life. Expenditure on health care is higher, not to mention loss of productivity and income. Something needs to be done. And right away. We can only be as healthy as the ecosystem.