Ensuring the health of public is a multifarious challenge that requires expertise alternatives to reduce the threats causing several health problems. It is very important that we should focus on making our environment healthier and livable. Vector-borne diseases are increasing as air and water quality has become poorer due to change in the climate and weather. These issues have pushed the world’s environmental health front and center. World Environmental Health Day is an opportunity to make us realize that healthy environment is necessary not only for welfare of biodiversity but for humankind too. The World Environmental Health Day is observed on September 26 annually and is celebrated by many recognized organizations with different themes.
History of the World Environmental Health Day
The International Federation of Environmental Health (IFEH) first launched the World Environmental Health Day (WEHD) in Indonesia in the year 2011. Students and activists of Indonesia composed a special hymn and recited it to celebrate the launch of World Environmental Health Day. This event was organised to denote the environmental problems so that respective measures can be taken to reduce those problematic factors which are degrading our environment. In 2012, many parts of Africa and Europe also organised an event to mark this day and in 2013 the World Environmental Health Day was supported by Canadian, British, American, Australian and Asian activists. Since then, every year, different countries are celebrating this day.
What is International Federation of Environmental Health?
International Federation of Environmental Health is an organization that was established in 1986. The federation’s head office is situated in London. It consists of more than 30 countries including Australia, Austria, Indonesia, Denmark, USA, Sri Lanka, etc. as council members. The Federation works to spread knowledge that concerns environmental health issues and promotes co-operation among countries in which issues related to environmental health are increasing. Other functions of IFEH include exchanging of information and experience on environmental health, conducting congresses and meetings to discuss subjects related to environmental health science and representing the interests of several state and national agencies.
What is the Theme of World Environmental Health Day 2021?
The whole world has been going through very difficult times since WHO has declared Covid-19 as pandemic. This pandemic has severely affected the Environmental Health workforce worldwide. A webinar was organised on 24th of July in which members of IFEH discussed severe effects of Coronavirus and its mutating variants. How and on what scale the human activities are responsible to create such a situation have also been discussed in the virtual meeting.
IFEH every year decides a theme for World Environmental Health Day. This year as a conclusion of the meeting, ‘Prioritizing Environmental Health for Healthier Communities’ has been chosen as a theme for World Environmental Health Day 2021. The theme selected for World Environment Health Day 2020 was ‘Environmental Health, a Key Public Health Intervention in Disease Pandemic Prevention’.
Celebration of World Environmental Health Day 2021
Every year the IFEH not only announces a special theme for the day, but also organizes various activities. These activities help to draw public attention to the problems related to our environment. The organization on a global level is calling people to participate in these events as it wants as many events related to this day to be known to people so that they can promote the awareness about the environmental health related issues and can find out their solutions. People can easily display their events on the official platform of IFEH without paying any cost. Other then this platform, many activities are taking place around the globe related to this big event. People are sharing different tweets, images, quotes, slogans, posters, etc. to celebrate World Environmental Health Day 2021.
As now schools are reopened, school administration can organise various activities like speech competition, drawing competition, poster making competitions, essay writing, poems reciting, debates on topics related to the environment and public health, and many more.
Why do we need to celebrate World Environmental Health Day 2021?
We are witnessing several changes in our environment whether it is climatic change, global warming or increasing water level of sea. Somehow, these changes are affecting human health because for few years we are witnessing the growth in the new and more acute diseases which are risky for human health. But we are still neglecting all these changes and continuously carrying on our actions that degrade the environment. Consequently, the world is now dealing with the Covid-19 virus that has disrupted all the activities across the world since its outbreak.
So, WHO released a manifesto on May 26, 2020 for a healthy recovery from COVID-19. This manifesto is based on six key ideas and its main purpose is to seize the moment. This is so because the world is going through a worst recession with loss in business, jobs and incomes due to pandemic. This has brought an irreparable damage to the achievement goal of Sustainable Development. However, this pandemic also helped us find out the difficulties and inequalities, specially in the existing healthcare in the world. So, the World Environmental Health Day is being celebrated not only to spread the awareness about the factors that are related to health problems but also to encourage people to find out the solution of these problems to live a peaceful and healthy life.
What is Environmental Health?
Environmental health refers to interrelationship between the environment and living beings. Everything that we observe in our surroundings is known as environment. It includes all living things, non living things, natural things and man-made things. Environmental health is the branch of public health that describes the relationships between people and their environment. The clean environment plays an essential role for the survival of the human beings. Clearer environment promotes healthier life of people. Changes in the natural or artificial environment can affect human health.
For past few years, development and advancement in the technologies have created an artificial environment that humans are using to fulfill their wishes. But like every coin has two faces, this progress has a negative effect on environment and human health. Biggest example of this is the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to World Health Organistion (WHO), healthier environment could prevent around one quarter of the global burden of diseases.
What we can do to protect Environmental Health?
Most of the changes that are occurring in the environment are triggered by the human activities. However, there can be some other external factors causing environmental changes. The changing of seasons, temperature in day and night, etc. are some phenomenon that occurs naturally but they can be disturbed by the interference of humans. The increasing global warming, depletion of ozone layer, birth of several new diseases, increasing pollution, etc. are the results of human activities that are affecting the environmental health adversely. So, it is very important to spread the awareness about it by observing World Environmental Health Day. We must be aware of how humans’ health and environment are interconnected and the causes that are affecting environmental health. This day also encourages people to find solutions of the problems related to the health and environment.
The issues we are facing now are tough and that’s why they need to be taken care. The local authorities should promote environmental care by organizing different activities that improves environmental health. This pandemic also taught us the value of physical fitness, while it also make us understand the importance of hygiene, sanitizations etc. One doesn’t have to be an expert or a millionaire to save the earth. At an individual level, we can keep our environment clean by keeping our neighborhood tidy, avoiding pollutants emitting vehicles, using lesser plastic materials, using eco-friendly products, gardening and planting and most importantly following the Covid protocols.
We need a healthy and supportive environment around us for good health. People who do not care about the environment, simply do not understand how important it is to all of us. Therefore, nature conservation is very essential if we want to live in a healthy environment. If today we save our present then only we can shape our future. With the establishment of this day, environmental health awareness is increasing among the people around the world and they are coming together to fight for a healthy future. On World Environmental Health Day 2021, let’s make a commitment to take a step forward to take care of our health by keeping our environment safe.
World Environmental Health Day 2021: FAQS
Q1. What are the effects an environment can have on human health?
Ans. One of the most important aspects of environment is that it gives life to the humans as it contains the source (trees and plants) that releases oxygen. There are some environmental issues that immensely affect the health of humans and they are:
- Climate Crisis
- Global Warming
- Industrial waste
- Acid Rain and Ozone Layer Depletion
Q2. Why our environment is threatened?
Ans. Every day, human activities are continuously damaging the earth’s environment. Issues like freshwater pollution, scarcity of natural resources, food insecurity, frequent oil drilling have disbalanced the ecosystem and threatened our environment.
Q3. How can a person search and appraise information related to environmental health on the internet?
Ans. There are many websites that provide you information regarding environmental health. But, IFEH is the organization that started this day and its official website provides authentic and useful information regarding the same. Other than this more articles related to environment and human health posted on WHO’s website can help you a lot to gather information on this topic.
Q4. Give an example of environmental health?
Ans. Humans are dependent on the environment for various ways to sustain life. So, examples of good environmental health are clean air, safe drinking water, consumption of nutritious food, etc.