There are so many reasons to take care of the world’s environment that the list can go on and on and make your head spin — from pollution and soil degradation, to animal welfare, food quality, rising water levels and more, there is much to think about when it comes to the planet’s natural resources.
However, if you want to educate yourself, those around you, and the world at large, it’s also important to be aware of how environmental issues can affect us on a very personal level: our health.
Read on for two major issues to be aware of today.
The quality of the air we breathe can have a big effect on health, and is something that governments, health organizations, urban planners, and others are looking into more and more these days. While air pollution can be caused by naturally-occurring phenomena like climactic variations, wildfires, and dust, the greatest contributing factor today is actually man-made impacts. In particular, human reliance on fossil fuels and heavy industry, as well as methane build-up from waste, agriculture, and various man-made processes, is causing a significant amount of air pollution.
Some of the negative health outcomes that can arise from exposure to pollution include everything from watering eyes, wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing, through to serious respiratory and cardiovascular illness, heart attacks, shortened life span, and cancer.
The water quality in a community can be affected significantly by land use and land-management practices, as well as water-treatment processes. Water can become polluted with chemicals, germs, and toxic algae.
Contamination of water supplies can occur because of:
- Fertilizers, pesticides, animal-feeding operations, and other agricultural practices
- Manufacturing processes
- Leaky storage tanks and malfunctioning wastewater treatment systems
- Industrial dumping
- Sewer overflows
- Corroded piles leaching lead
Drinking water that contains various toxins has been linked to many different health risks and issues. Infants, in particular, can become seriously ill and even die due to contaminated water. As well, people are at risk of developing rashes, reproductive disorders, respiratory problems, stomach or liver illness, neurological problems, developmental issues, cardiovascular and kidney diseases, deafness, and cancer.