Writing critical essays on environmental health and its effects on development is a task that could be assigned to just about anyone pursuing a degree in a higher institution of learning. Therefore, it is important to arm yourself with enough ammunitions—facts and figures—concerning the subject of environmental health and here, we will attempt to put together 10 important facts on it.
To kick-start the learning process, here is an academic definition of environmental health and development. Environmental health is the science that studies the effect of civilization, culture, personal habits, pollution, population growth and travel on human health as well as the development of the human community. The study takes into account a variety of parameters and factors that lead to acquired or congenital diseases among humans. The data provided for acquired diseases covers the illnesses humans acquire from harmful chemicals, pollution and pathogenic elements while that for congenital diseases covers genetic issues contained in the human DNA. Therefore, a study on environmental health focuses more on acquired diseases and the role the environment plays in our healthy or unhealthy situation.
So here are some facts spanning the environment’s contribution to the state of our mental health, wellness, and overall standard of life in the 21st century:
- The past twenty years have seen plastics replacing the use of glass, metal and other material as the major production material used in manufacturing products. In 1995, studies found that plastics leak pollutants which affect the environment and the endocrine system of the human body. The endocrine system is responsible for growth and reproduction and the effects of these emissions stunt human development.
- Sadly, approximately 6.6 million children under the age of 5 die every year on the global stage due to diverse contributing factors. But statistics show that environmental-related deaths account for a third of this number. Also important is the fact that 50% of the one million child deaths from acute respiration are caused by indoor smoke—which consist of second hand tobacco smoke and solid fuel used in stoves.
- In terms of diseases and environmental health, asthma is the most common non-communicable disease that occurs among children. Studies show that it is caused by emissions which are hazardous to the environment such as dust, smoke, pollen and mould. Children in more developed countries are more susceptible to having asthma, while sufferers from poor income backgrounds are more likely to die from asthmatic attacks due to lack of access to good health care facilities.
- The causes of natural disasters range from human impact to just nature. Their effect on health and development are quite staggering. Statistics show that since 1980, environmental disasters have led to economic losses of approximately $3.2trillion worldwide. Sadly, low-income countries account for approximately 70% of the world’s natural disaster hot spots which affect more than 200 million people from the developed world.
- The average human being also plays a part in ensuring the environmental health in his or her community and this affects the development and standard of living in these communities. In 2012, statistics show that 14% of the world’s population practices open defecation and 9 out of every 10 who practice open defecation live in rural areas. The study also showed the percentage of people who defecate in the open is also on the rise in the developed world which affects the environment negatively.
- The earth’s ozone layer is drastically reducing due to the use of ozone depleting substances (ODS) produced by humans and this harms the environment for it reduces the protecting shield that protects humans from ultraviolet (UV) rays. Cars, refrigerators, air conditioners contribute approximately 30% of the emissions that affect the ozone layer. UV rays are produced more predominantly between 10am to 4pm and overexposure may lead to skin burns and in more serious instances, skin cancer.
- Lead poisoning is a scourge to environmental health and although the use of lead in production cycles has been reduced in developing countries, high levels of lead can still be found in the environment. Studies show that lead can harm a developing foetus and cause reproduction problems in adults. Lastly, in developing countries, more than 33% of their child population are exposed to high levels of lead which can result to neurological disorders which harm child development.
- Water contamination has been described as one of the hazards that plague humans, the environment and animals residing in its ecosystem. Studies show that most of the world’s water sources—tap water, well water and bottled water—exhibit traces of contamination such as fluorine, lead and bacteria—and in high concentrations, it can lead to health hazards. In developing nations, water contamination is responsible for illnesses such as cholera and dysentery which affects the healthy development of individuals in these communities.
- Mining and drilling to retrieve the earth’s resources also have repercussions on the environment and in most cases these repercussion are negative and harmful to environmental health. Studies have shown that a high percentage mercury—which is one of the byproducts from burning coal—finds its way to the world’s lakes, rivers and oceans thereby affecting both plant and animal life globally. Humans are also in danger of mercury poisoning as methylmercury can be found in high concentrations in sea foods exposed mercury.
- Environmental health is also susceptible to the widespread use of pesticides by humans in killing pests, gardening and treating mold. Studies show that over exposure to pesticide poses greater risk to children than adults and these health risks include: birth defects, nerve damage and cancer. Statistics show that an estimated 1million to 5million cases of pesticide poisoning occur each year and this leads to approximately 20,000 deaths which show the effect of pesticide to environmental health.
So here we come to the end of some of the most important facts on environmental health and development which you can integrate into your essay. We would like you to note that this article is just the first in a series providing you with excellent information on writing an essay or handling a project on environmental health. Therefore, we implore you to complete the series by checking out some interesting topics which you can choose from for your own essay as well as these guidelines on writing a critical essay.
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