The health and well-being of humans and life on Earth greatly depend on the surrounding environment. Without a healthy environment, certain necessary conditions for human life cannot be obtained. Such necessities include food, water, energy, shelter, and good quality public health. It also has an impact on the mental, social, and physical state of people. In light of the recent outbreak of the Covid virus, certain environmental problems pose more danger to human existence (Sanità di Toppi, Sanità di Toppi, & Bellini, 2020). The environment is composed of many areas, and each of them has a different impact on human lives, as much as humans have impacted those areas.
Environmental Factors that Impact Health
Several environmental factors have a significant impact on health. They include air pollution, inadequate water, chemicals, radiation, climate change, noise, occupational hazards, and built environments (Brusseau, Ramirez-Andreotta, & Maximillian, 2019). Considering the Covid virus that greatly affects the respiratory system, the issue of air pollution, particulate matter specifically, has become more problematic than ever (Sanità di Toppi, Sanità di Toppi, & Bellini, 2020). Particulate matter is defined as substances that are so small that they can remain in the air and be transported deep into the lungs. Air pollution can be of two kinds: indoor and outdoor pollution, both of which are deeply harmful. Water and food are of utmost importance for human survival, and climate change can affect those aspects. For example, water scarcity can be caused by droughts, which can affect the growth of crops (Brusseau, Ramirez-Andreotta, & Maximillian, 2019). Lack of safe drinking water affects body functions, as well as hygiene, which is important to prevent disease. Low quality of water and living, in general, is also associated with poorer economic areas. In addition, those areas can also struggle with sanitation, which escalates risks of infectious diseases.
Chemicals and radiation have dangerous effects on the human body if exposed to or consumed with air, water, or food. These factors can increase the likelihood of cancer or cause death, with less severe outcomes including fever, sickness, and headaches. Worldwide, more than 500,000 people die every year because of dangerous substances. Noise and built environments are closely linked with urbanization, a process occurring when more and more people strive to live in cities. Built environments are not an inherently problematic phenomenon, however, their widespread creates more considerable dangers, such as unsafe roads and buildings. The area of occupational health has risen with the rise of factory work when the impacts of hazardous conditions of work have become more visible (Brusseau, Ramirez-Andreotta, & Maximillian, 2019). Every year, more than one million people die from occupational hazards, and more than 300 million severe occupational accidents occur.
My Role in Improving/ Eliminating Environmental Barriers to Health
As much as humans are capable of affecting the surrounding environment, it is their responsibility to protect and improve it. An enhanced ecological situation is a way to ensure that people are born and stay healthy. In the past one hundred years, attitudes towards the environment have changed drastically. The pioneers of the movement to protect and preserve nature go as far as the beginning of the 20th century (Nadakavukaren, & Caravanos, 2020). There are some ways that an individual can add to the improvement of environmental barriers to health. For example, one can switch to a bike from time to time instead of using a car and purchase a water bottle instead of buying plastic ones. When shopping for clothing, one might opt to choose clothes with more natural materials. Buying locally grown fruit and vegetables, as well as reducing one’s meat consumption, is also a great way to help the environment.
As much as the efforts of one person matter, such as recycling and reducing fuel consumption, the most crucial element of environmental protection is the world of politics. Political forces consider both ecological, social, and economic aspects of the matter, and those who care for the environment should prioritize influencing every policy-making level. Other than being actively involved in government-related programs and agendas, it is essential to consider smaller local communities that need help (Nadakavukaren, & Caravanos, 2020). Personally speaking, I see ways to affect policy-making by spreading comprehensive information on local governmental efforts. For example, what is being made regarding the environment, its consequences, and what actions locals can take to combat or support it?
In conclusion, the environment has a heavy influence on humans’ lives. A poor environment affects people’s life quality, in particular, their primary necessities to survive. Environmental problems, such as air pollution, inadequate water, urbanization issues, poverty, climate change, and occupational risks, have caused many adversities. As time goes on, the environment’s impact on human existence becomes more and more severe, as happened with particulate matter during the outbreak of Covid. To improve or eliminate environmental health barriers, people must consider several methods of action. There are ways to enhance the ecological situation through personal efforts, for example, reconsidering one’s food choices, or through public activism, making an effort to influence policy-making. The politics that concern the environment, be it an ecological or a built environment, could be affected both locally and on higher governmental levels.
Brusseau, M.L., Ramirez-Andreotta, I.L., & Maximillain, J. (2019). Environmental impacts on human health and well-being. Environmental and Pollution Science, 3, 477–499.
Nadakavukaren, A., & Caravanos, J. (2020). Our global environment: A health perspective. Waveland Press.
Sanità di Toppi, L., Sanità di Toppi, L., & Bellini, E. (2020). Novel coronavirus: how atmospheric particulate affects our environment and health. Challenges, 11(1), 6.