Health policies should recognize environmental factors

The global natural environment has become very dangerous for our health, as we breathe hazardous air, eat toxic food, watching extreme weather episodes and every coming year more warmed than the previous one, yet the health policies and death records all over the world do not document these facts.  Death records reflect different injuries, lung failure, heart attack, and failures of the different organ that occur at the end of life, however, they do not indicate environmental issues that are mainly responsible for these lethal factors.

Admittedly, the health of the human is a multifaceted phenomenon and at its core, the science and biology of different organ work. Death certificates record this biology with the description such as infection, cancer, and heart failure. Certainly, social factors also have a strong influence on humane productivity and health. Education, income, topography, and the nature of the connections with society have a profound impact on how the disease develop and progress. These factors have a powerful influence on lifestyle and ultimately on life expectancy. However, despite their strong influence, the mortality data all over the world usually do not reflect these factors. The doctors are increasingly literate about the health consequence of social determinants, yet they take them as having secondary importance.

Similarly, our living natural environment has a significant impact on our lives and productivity. Temperature, weather, and quality of the air we breathe have been the major determinant of humane health and productivity. They still have a significant impact on our lives even we have better shelters to protect ourselves from these elements. The inventive physicians have been calling for years to give due recognition to these factors in our understanding of humane life and productivity. However, at the movement, we are beginning to recognize the enormous impact of environmental factors on our lives in medical practices.  This lack of attention can be realized by examining the health data of different global and national organizations. They include rates of cancer, diabetes, infection, cardiovascular disease along with some important socioeconomic indicators such as education, location, and income. However, these datasets have very little information about the health impact of environmental factors such as drought, heat stroke and air and water pollution.

The research from the Australian National University indicates two% of mortality in Australia caused by hot weather. The increasing temperature has a long-term impact on human health. Similarly smoke in different parts of the world has increased mortality by increasing lung disease. Maryam Salma Babar, 2021 concludes in his article titled  “Impact of climate change on health in Karachi, Pakistan” published in The Journal of Climate Change and HealthVolume 2, May 2021, that transmissibility of contagious diseases resulted in adverse health outcomes are the outcomes of changed ecosystems of Karachi city. Moreover, thousands of people are observed to going hospitals at the time of smoke and heat incidences. This information is not considered and recorded by health policies death certificates around the globe.

The ongoing sustainability crisis has created the greatest health challenge that humanity is facing all over the world even after we are recovering from the corona pandemic. As temperature rises, in hot areas of the world, we observe increasing morbidity and mortality.  Time has come when health agencies and professionals need to understand the risk that environmental factors have posed to our health. This risk should be reflected in death certificates and hospitalization data.

The identifying of the threat paves the way to confront it. Environmental scientists have been warning for years that millions of people are likely to be affected by environmental issues in this century.  And now we have begun to realize why these predictions have been made. The ongoing corona pandemic has less than one per cent mortality rate for those affected while papulation morality is lower because of global response and control mechanism. On the other hand, climate change resulting from increased global temperature threatens the life and wellbeing of so many more peoples and therefore, need a quicker response and attention.  The world is responding to covid 19 effectively with global cooperation and we have a remarkable opportunity to respond to the threat of global sustainability crises with the same level of global cooperation by creating a cleaner, safer, and kind world.  Part of the solution comes from recognizing the magnitude of the threat that demand attention today.

Dr.Abid Rashid Gill
Dr.Abid Rashid Gill
Dr Abid Rashid Gill is serving at the economics department of The Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB), Pakistan. He is also Director of the Green campus Program, IUB. This program aims at transforming IUB from a traditional university into a sustainable green university. He completed his PhD in environmental economics from the Universisiti of Utara Malaysia (UUM). He has published many research articles on environment issues in impact factor journals of international repute. Environment economics and sustainable development are his special area of interest.