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General 305 views Sep 11, 2018
Environmental Health

Environment, health, and disease are constituent parts of an object which can be named as environmental health.  Better environment provides better health, and better health reduces diseases. The opposite of it causes an increase in diseases.  This essay presents a review of environmental factors that influence environmental health and the effect of environmental change on environmental health.

Various environmental factors influence the human health, and through controlling of these factors, environmental health of the world population can be improved (“World Health Organization”, n.d.).  Control of environmental factors such as arrangement of proper sanitation, supply of drinking water, animal abuse, control of infectious agents, and genes relate to environmental change, and it causes affect on human health.  Globally, only a few countries have established improved water sources, and sanitation for 100% of their population. A substantial number of world populations consume solid fuel for cooking, water boiling, and heating since they cannot afford or do not have access to electricity.  The use of solid fuel causes deterioration of indoor air quality, which contributes to lung disease. Adverse work environment and the use of toxic materials also cause environmental change and effect on environmental health. Attempts to control the environmental factors have now reached the global level, which is one of the aspects of globalization.  Though this sounds benevolent, but according to Dr. Vandana Shiva, in fact, it is a method which is invented to give control of entire natural resources in the hands of greedy corporations. She, in her interview with Bill Moyers of PBS, explained the adverse side of globalization approach through Suez, the world’s biggest water company, and Coca-Coal’s control over the water resources of India.

The idea of the green revolution that was introduced in the 20th century was, in fact, the application of the globalization concept in food framing.  The goal was to provide higher yield of crop, cheaper price, and greater availability. The core idea of the green revolution was to systematize agriculture as it was done for the industry. As a part of systemization process, fields were getting farmed only with one variety of crops. This approach created an ecological vacuum, which exploited insects, and it caused diseases; varieties of crops that existed also dramatically reduced.  Genetic uniformity led to the increased formability to insects and disease, and the farmers got trapped in using more and more pesticide. The pesticide industry then started modifying seeds to be resistant to the pesticide. There were genetic modifications. Eventually, globalization gave authorization to a large corporation to get the ownership of seeds. This is what Dr. Vandana Shiva exactly voiced with respect to water resources of India (“Public Broadcasting System”, n.d.).

According to the definition of WHO (The World Health Organization), environmental health is determined by the physical, chemical, and biological factors of the environment; they are also called ad agents.  Air, water, soil, and food contain these agents, and they are transported to humans via inhalation, ingestion, and skin absorption.  Any environmental change that deteriorates an agent / agents would impact adversely on environmental health.

I consider risk assessment and risk management to be important steps in improving/ eliminating environmental barriers to health.  Risk assessment includes defining of the problem, its magnitude and understanding of the key determinants. Risk management includes strategy development, setting up of priorities, implementation, and evaluation of intervention / prevention strategies.

Humans are surrounded by complex climatic, edaphic, and biotic factors.  These factors are parts of the environment. Human physical, mental, and sociological well-being depends on these factors. Environmental health is responsible to study these factors and take proper measures in order environmental changes of these factors could cause adverse affect on human health.  This is a global task and part of globalization. From the environmental health perspective, globalization must not take place where democracy is eliminated, and corporations become sole authorities as to the natural resources.