Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open: B.K.S. Iyengar
Environmental health refers to aspects of human health (including quality of life) that are determined by physical, chemical, biological, social and psychosocial factors in the environment. Environmental health is a branch of environmental sciences. A healthy environment means a healthy human. It can reduce the risk of diseases. If we are environmentally aware then the risk of diseases can reduce. If we decrease the bacteria and microbes’ penetration there can be fewer pandemics and outbreaks. It promotes a healthy and quality life. If food, shelter, clean air and water are provided then the quality of life will increase. It can also increase the life expectancy. If the temperatures increase then the food security will decrease. It can cause malnutrition and diseases. It can increase biodiversity by creating mass awareness for habitat restoration. It can decrease the global warming limits otherwise the droughts are expected to double before 2050 and floods will also double in 2030. The sea level rise can affect 1 billion people. If there is less release of greenhouse gases then the global temperatures can also decrease. It can increase food security and health equity, provide clean water and air, reduce hazardous waste, and improve population health.
Environmental health focuses on providing a healthy relationship between humans and the environment. By focusing on a healthy environment, we can get physical health and mental peace. Therefore, ensuring a healthy environment for humans to live in is a necessity.
Major Environmental Health Problems: It includes air pollution that causes asthma, allergies, chemical pollution causing respiration disorders, bronchitis issues, climate change, microbes in the air, soil, water, etc. lack of health care, poor infrastructure, poor water, and air quality.
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES: Environmental issues are the harmful effects of human activities on the environment. These include pollution, overpopulation, waste disposal, climate change, global warming, the greenhouse effect, etc. Various environment protection programs are being practiced at the individual, organizational and government levels with the aim of establishing a balance between man and the environment.
SOME OF THE CURRENT ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES THAT REQUIRE URGENT ATTENTION ARE:
1:- CLIMATE CHANGE:- Climate change is a great concern in today’s scenario. This problem has surfaced in the last few decades. Greenhouse gases are the major cause of climate change. Environmental changes have several destructive impacts such as the melting of glaciers, change in seasons, epidemics, etc.
2:-GLOBAL WARMING: The burning of fossil fuels, emissions from automobiles and chlorofluorocarbons add to the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This has led to an increase in the earth’s temperature causing environmental changes. This increase in temperature across the globe is known as global warming.
3:- OZONE LAYER DEPLETION: The ozone layer is a layer of concentrated ozone gas. It protects us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. This very important layer is being destroyed by CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), which are used in industries and everyday life (e.g. aerosol cans). The chlorine in these compounds destroys the ozone layer. The hole in the ozone layer leaves humans and wildlife exposed to harmful UV rays resulting in several skin diseases including cancer.
4:- WATER POLLUTION: The introduction of harmful substances into rivers, oceans, lakes and ponds, which changes the physical, chemical or biological condition of the water is called water pollution. The polluted water lacks oxygen and therefore the organisms die. Water is the main source of life and therefore it is our prime duty to prevent it from any kind of pollution.
5:- AIR POLLUTION: Air pollution is the result of emissions from industries, automobiles, and the increasing use of fossil fuels. The gaseous emissions have added to an increase in the temperature of the earth. Not only this, but it also increased the risk of diseases among individuals.
6:-SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT: Solid waste management is defined as the discipline associated with the generation, storage, collection, transfer and transport, processing, and disposal of solid waste in a manner that does not have a harmful effect on the environment.
7:-DEFORESTATION:- Deforestation is the depletion of trees and forests at an alarming rate. The trees provide us with oxygen, and several raw materials and also maintain the temperature of the earth. Due to the depletion of trees for commercial purposes, there has been a drastic change in the earth’s climate. Forests are an abode to a large number of wild animals and plants. Destruction of forests has led to the elimination of a large number of plants and animal species affecting biodiversity
8:- OVERPOLULATION: The earth’s population is increasing drastically. It is estimated to be more than seven billion. The increasing population has led to a shortage of resources. If this continues, it will be very difficult to sustain such a huge population. The other environmental issues including pollution, waste management, deforestation, climate change and global warming are all associated with overpopulation.
IMPORTANCE OF HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT: The human relationship with the environment depends on each other. Clean water, air, and healthy food are the necessities for human life. As our activities affect the environment in a way, they also affect our life, health, families and communities. Human civilization has always formed a close bond with its environment. Sitting in fresh air and greenery can increase mental peace, reduce blood pressure, and increase attention span. A healthy environment improved health and well-being, greater productivity., higher performance., increased job satisfaction., greater work participation and increased social inclusion, increased individual, team and organisational resilience, lower absenteeism rates, less workplace injury and workers’ compensation claims.
CONCLUSION: Environmental health problems can be solved only with the help of mass awareness and education. If we solve the environmental issues the diseases will reduce, promote healthy life, limit global warming, and increase life expectancy.
The author is a science student at Government Degree College Bhaderwah. He can be reached at [email protected]