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The influence of the environment on the health of the population

The influence of the environment on the health of the population


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By Cristian Frers

That the ill deteriorated environment is not a novelty, but it does represent a new scenario. Now, the ozone hole, waste management, water quality, and environmental risks that humans still do not know how to handle, added to poverty and marginalization, provide a more complex picture that affects human health.


The world today faces an unprecedented crisis in the environment and health. Despite the advances made in the field of health and the environment, the situation is on the verge of a global disaster. The problems are so vast and far-reaching that the future well-being of humanity, along with that of many other life forms on the planet, is threatened.

In recent years we have become accustomed to seeing, hearing and taking certain attitudes that we see as normal or acceptable, these attitudes and their tremendously negative effects on our health. We refer to those attitudes that damage the environment. There are many, too many, human actions that are attacking the environment, many of them irreversibly. The demonstration of this is in many cases evident, in other cases it is supported by scientific studies and in some cases, this demonstration is difficult to carry out in the short term, but all indications point to its dangerousness.

On the one hand, people and communities, especially the poorest and most marginalized, who are the object of greater discrimination, face the direct consequences of the local destruction of the environment, which generally derive from exploitative business practices and projects of destructive development. Those in the worst conditions pay with their health for the destruction of their local environment.

On the other hand, global and regional changes in the environment are beginning to affect the world's population. These drastic environmental problems, for example climate change and ozone layer depletion, are mostly caused by unsustainable lifestyles, overconsumption and unhealthy development patterns. Likewise, these environmental problems are likely to hit the poor and marginalized first, and with the most drastic consequences, but sooner or later they will hit the privileged as well. Unless these environmental trends are curbed around the world, they could wreak havoc on entire ecosystems and systems that are essential to life, as well as causing a major, unprecedented crisis for all of humanity.

The environmental factors that condition health are many, including: the quantity and quality of drinking water; the possibility of access to nutrients mediated by their existence, market prices and the prestige that has been culturally determined for them; adequate housing, which requires construction resources and takes into account culturally accepted materials, as well as their connection to aqueduct and sewer networks and the distribution of construction; adequate work environments with clear security measures; well-paid employment that allows maintaining an adequate standard of living; proper handling and final disposal of solid and liquid waste; the degree of environmental contamination at a general and occupational level; the availability of farmland and the quality of food; and the fluctuation of the population, determined by the phenomenon of migration closely related to the quality of life and the availability of resources.

Health as an integral part of society is not exempt from taking care of the Environment, therefore, the entire society is obliged to be able to take care of the environment in order to preserve health.


In the last decades of the 20th century, the concern to expand the content of the term health is based on incorporating elements of well-being into the absence of diseases as a strictly biological phenomenon, so that health is considered as a meeting ground for phenomena economic, political and social. In this sense, health can be seen as the dependent variable of this set of activities.

Regarding these priority issues, actions in the field of the environment should be oriented, firstly, to the need to carefully monitor environmental exposure to pollutants and, as consequences, alterations to health and well-being, through development relevant indicators. Therefore, health impact assessment, risk analysis and risk reporting will form the basis of any action.

Addressing the problem of environmental health in the municipality is an opportunity to talk about what is happening to us. Enabling listening is being willing to respect what goes beyond what is expected to hear. It is accepting what is, even if it is different from what we know or choose. It is necessary to propose promoting reflection on environmental health in the locality itself, assessing it and proposing healthy alternatives.

To generate projects on environmental health requires a minimum of exchanges and prior agreements on how the issue will be addressed. To intervene in the locality, it will be necessary to identify the axis of risk, that is, the environmental risk. It is suggested as a methodology to achieve this purpose to follow these steps: detect the risk, evaluate the situation, make a diagnosis, formulate a project proposal for a technically and economically viable solution, approve and implement the proposed project, start the project and, finally, evaluate the results and make adjustment corrections.

Health is only possible where there are resources available to meet human needs and where the general and work environment is protected from pollutants, pathogens, and harmful physical hazards. But health also carries a sense of well-being and security, since violence, inequity, and alienation are not only related to low job expectations, but also to overcrowding in poor-quality housing, poor services, and inadequate provision for leisure. fun and play and children's development.

Every year more than three million children under the age of five die from causes and conditions related to the environment. The environment is thus one of the most decisive influencing factors in the global toll of 10 million child deaths annually, and a very important one for the health and well-being of mothers.

In developing countries in particular, environmental risks and pollution are a major contributor to childhood mortality, morbidity, and disability associated with acute respiratory illnesses, diarrheal illnesses, physical trauma, poisoning, insect-borne diseases, and infections. perinatal.

Infant mortality and morbidity due to causes such as poverty and malnutrition are also associated with unsustainable patterns of development and the degradation of the urban or rural environment.

In Argentina not much attention is paid to environmental health. It is the task of the municipal, provincial and national government to prevent the environment and to achieve this it must implement policies aimed at modifying harmful behaviors and stimulating community participation in the environmental management process.

In the area of ​​basic sanitation, activities related to the improvement of basic conditions that affect health should be considered, that is, water supply, excreta disposal, solid waste, housing and control of harmful fauna. Among the operational components of basic sanitation are: drinking water, sewerage; disposal of excreta in rural areas, urban cleaning, improvement of housing, protection of food, control of noxious fauna and control of zoonoses.

While in the area of ​​environmental quality it must be based on the characterization of the impact of development, such as environmental pollution, and its effect on public health.

That the ill deteriorated environment is not a novelty, but it does represent a new scenario. Now, the ozone hole, waste management, water quality, and environmental risks that humans still do not know how to handle, added to poverty and marginalization, provide a more complex picture that affects human health.

Cristian Frers - Senior Technician in Environmental Management and Senior Technician in Social Communication


Video: The Nature u0026 Effects of Environmental Issues on Peoples Health. Jessica Cordova (July 2022).


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