Link Between our Environment and our Health

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Posted By : ScienceIndia Administrator

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            Everything surrounding us comprises of our environment which includes living, non-living, chemical and physical forces, etc. Living beings on the earth depend on the environment and any changes or disturbance to this environment influences their survival or development on earth. Unfortunately, the day-to-day activities of human beings mostly have negative impact on our environment which in turn causes certain ill effects on human health and their general well-being. Our daily routine pollutes our air, water, and soil environment whose direct or indirect consumption leads to many diseases. For example polluted soil leads to seepage of toxins to underground water thereby polluting it. Consumption of this contaminated water may cause several chronic diseases including cancer. Human activities such as smoking, improper vehicular usage, deforestation, lack of urban planning, unregulated industrial pollution of air/soil/water, etc have a huge devastating impact on the global environment. Climate change, i.e., change in the global or regional climate pattern, is one of the obvious global problem that we have been witnessing currently. Importantly, the climate change has a direct threat to the human health and life. The above said human activities elevate the level of greenhouse gases (Ex: CO2) in the atmosphere and thereby increase the earth’s temperature (FACT: according to the European Union Climate Action team the global average temperature in the late 19th Century was 0.85ºC lower than the present days). As a result of climate change, various parts of the world witness unusual change in the rain patterns. The floods caused by increased amount of rain ultimately increase the incidence of water-borne diseases while the shortage of rain causes draught and other issues. Also, some scientific studies have shown that climate change in certain regions have favored growth and spread of insect vectors (Ex: mosquitoes) and have increased the vector-borne illnesses (Ex: malaria) in these regions. Thus, in short, the changes in our environment have a big impact on our health, and, understanding the associations between health and environment will help us to improve the environment as well as the health of humans.

Author: Dr P.R.Meganathan, Scientist, CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Hyderabad Zonal Centre, IICT-Campus, Hyderabad- 500007

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