It’s World Environment Day today. Every year, millions of people worldwide suffer because of a polluted environment. A significant number of people have died in total. Apart from that, environmental risks cause us to lose our healthy lives.
India ranked fifth among the world’s most polluted countries according to the World Air Quality Report of 2021. Heart, respiratory, strokes, and cancer are all caused by the same pollutants. Besides, contaminated water, inadequate sanitation, and noise are more environmental risk factors.
Environmental and human health
According to WHO, the changes in consumption ways, and the promotion of healthy practices in energy, transport, housing, urban management, and agriculture, are meaningful opportunities.
They add that low-income people are more likely to live in polluted locations and water. As a result, children and pregnant women are more vulnerable to pollution-related health issues.
Environmental pollutants must be tracked to determine where and how individuals are exposed. Also, many major health problems and deaths can be avoided. We need actions, laws, and policies to decrease pollution and climate change.
Environment and mental health
Clean air and water, sanitation and green spaces, and safe workplaces may improve people’s quality of life. By lowering mortality and morbidity and encouraging healthier lifestyles and mental productivity.
What can we do?
Investing in environmental sustainability can function as a health and human well-being.
According to the latest UNEP research, the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, and the ecosystems that sustain us—are reasons for a quarter of the global diseases.
A healthy environment is necessary for the full enjoyment of fundamental human rights. Rights to life, health, water, food, hygiene, and good quality of life.
Air pollution is the world’s most serious environmental health threat. About 7 million people die daily because of exposure to poor air quality that needs isolation.
Here are a few steps suggested by WHO that might be taken:
1. Leading major transformations for energy, health, and the environment.
2. Ensuring information development and distribution of research and monitoring health hazards and solution implementation changes.
3. Supporting country-level capacity-building and scaling-up procedures.
4. Building emergency response capabilities in the event of environmental incidents.
5. Providing relevant environmental health services and occupational health and safety guidelines.
How is our health costing?
They predicted environmental deterioration to cause 174-234 times the number of premature deaths. Besides, adverse effects on the poor, young, elderly, and women vary.
Ebola, Zika, MERS, SARS, Marburg…so on. Every four months, new zoonotic diseases transfer from animals to people. They might control healthy ecosystems that are essential for preventing or reducing the spread. Thus, investing in wildlife, livestock, and human health surveillance is a critical need.
How does environmental health affect finance?
Connected health risks cost 5-10% of GDP on average, with air pollution having an immense toll. Therefore, investing in environmental quality may advantage human health and well-being.
Based on the evidence of the links between poor environmental quality and health, the priority problem needs urgent attention.
Ecosystem degradation and strains on the Earth’s natural systems weaken ecosystem services. These services support human health and increase exposure to natural catastrophes. Plus, being responsible for food security sometimes leads to disease outbreaks.
Climate change is worsening the scale and intensity of these environmental-related health risks. Recognized as a significant health risk multiplier with existing effects. It is increasingly affecting human health. Also, adverse changes to land, oceans, biodiversity and access to fresh water increase natural disasters.
We should understand that we are not harming nature only but our present and future health on this world environment day.
Content Reviewed by – Asian Hospital Medical Editors