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World Health Day 2022: Let’s Ensure Good Health For All

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 06 April 2022, Updated on - 24 April 2022

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As we all know, our health is closely linked to the health of our planet. We depend on natural resources like clean air, freshwater, and food, among other things for our survival. However, over the years, human activities have polluted the environment and set off cataclysmic phenomena like climate change. The theme of World Health Day 2022 - our planet, our health - highlights the significance of collective global action to keep humans and the earth healthy while advancing a movement to create sustainable societies that are in harmony with nature. The article explores important aspects of this theme in detail below. 

Human Activities Causing Climate Change

Over the last two hundred years, human activities such as deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels have been the primary drivers of climate change. The burning of fossil fuels produces greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases that add up to air pollution. 

Climate change is affecting human health in several ways, some of which include: of the other causes of climate change are: 

  • Deforestation - As we all know, trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. When forests are cleared, it affects the ability of nature to regulate the climate by absorbing CO2. Furthermore, deforestation drives wild animals closer to human populations, thereby increasing the frequency of zoonotic diseases (diseases that transfer from animals to humans such as Coronavirus).
  • Increased Livestock Farming: Cows and sheep produce methane, a gas that has 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide, during their digestion processes. Excess methane inhalation can result in cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological problems.
  • Unsustainable Agricultural Practices - Excessive use of nitrogen-containing fertilisers produces nitrous oxide, which, if exposed in large quantities or for longer periods of time, can result in infertility, cancer, and even death. 
  • Pollution - Various human activities linked to climate change are also responsible for causing environmental pollution. Emissions from vehicles, industries, and power plants are polluting the air. Plastic, untreated sewage and industrial chemicals are polluting the land and water bodies. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 9 out of 10 humans breathe polluted air. It is estimated that 13 people die every minute from respiratory disease, heart disease, and stroke - all of which are usually traced back to air pollution. 

What Can You Do?

According to WHO, some simple actions which can keep the human race and the entire planet healthy include: 

  • Use public transport when commuting to and from work. If possible, walk or cycle to work at least once every week as it would reduce pollution while maintaining your overall health.
  • Turn off lights and fans when not required. If possible, switch to a renewable source of energy such as solar lamps and other appliances.
  • Reduce consumption of highly processed foods and beverages. Try to buy organic groceries from local producers.
  • Quit smoking, if you do. Smoking is associated with a significantly higher risk of respiratory and heart disease. It can also worsen the risk of health conditions caused by air pollution. 
  • Limit household waste. Try to reuse and recycle common household products as much as possible. Avoid buying or using plastic products. Use recyclable bags for carrying groceries and other items. 

Takeaway

Countries across the globe observe April 7 as World Health Day. The day offers an opportunity to raise awareness about various issues that affect the health of humans. This year’s theme - our planet, our health - sheds light on the adverse effects of climate change on us and the planet. It also urges global action against climate change while highlighting the need to foster a movement aimed at creating sustainable societies. Since climate change is also a public health crisis, all of us must do our bit by keeping ourselves healthy. We should also follow environment-friendly measures to reduce the impact of climate change.

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