Did you know that globally, 25% of all deaths can be attributed to environmental factors?

Our planet supports life to more than 8.7 million species and is currently experiencing extreme degradation and unprecedented climate change. And yes, scientists believe that much of our planet’s challenges are caused by human activity.

We all know that waste and pollution harms nature, but how does it affect your health?

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Contrary to what the name implies, “Environmental Health” is not focused on the health and well-being of the environment. Rather, it refers to human health and well-being as impacted by the environment. Truth is, many factors that influence health are outside the traditional health care setting.

The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and the homes, buildings and neighbourhood’s we live and work in, can all disrupt the way the human body works. All organisms depend on the environment for energy and materials needed to sustain life: clean air, water, nutritious food and a safe place to live. In fact, increased longevity are due to improved access to these necessities.

However, the relationship between human health and the environment raise many ethical, social and legal dilemmas by forcing people to choose between competing values. For example, malaria was eradicated in some developed nations in the 1940s and 50s as a result of draining wetlands and the spraying of DDT to kill mosquitos; essentially thereby also harming the environment by generating the population and waste, and by increasing fossil fuels.

The looming threat of climate change has been linked to an uptick in floods, wildfires, and super storms; all of which play profound roles in harming human health. Poor industrial hygiene is another example of how environmental factors can impact wellness. Many of the materials needed to advance industries and technology, like heavy metals or some plastics, can hurt the human body and lead to serious medical conditions.

The conditions in and around our homes, schools and workplaces can have a major impact on us. For example, pollution and litter can make us less inclined to go outside for exercise and recreation, potentially making us more prone to certain types of cancer, heart disease and asthma.

Are you feeling powerless? Truth is, you’re not. Our health is largely influenced by the choices we make for ourselves and our families.

Here are a few ways to ensure that we return the favour to the planet that keeps us healthy:

  • Pick up litter in your community. When you go for a walk, keep an eye out for trash and pick it up.
  • Reduce your plastic consumption. Avoid using single-use containers.
  • Shop sustainably. Reduce your water footprint by shopping at thrift or second-hand shops. It can take hundreds of litres of water to produce one t-shirt.
  • Buy ethically grown food from local farmers and co-ops which cuts back on greenhouse gases, fossil fuels, and air pollution by reducing the need to transport food extensively.

Preventing environmental pollution can save lives and reduce the toll of diseases.

Let’s all get involved and restore our earth to promote a healthier environment.

Source: lavieecolo.ca, healtheplanet.com, onlineregiscollege.edu, sciencedirect.com, health.gov, thehastingscenter.org, healthypeople.gov, everydayhealth.com, firstcareclinics.com

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.