ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH
The local environment can also be a source of harmful substances, such as air pollution, noise, and hazardous chemicals, which have a detrimental effect on health. The health of the EU population is also being adversely affected by climate change, which is manifested in heat waves, floods, and changes in the spread of vectors. In a broader sense, climate change, biodiversity loss, and soil degradation can also have an impact on human well-being through threats to ecosystem services such as access to drinking water and food production.
Human health and well-being are closely linked to the state of the environment. A good quality natural environment provides basic needs: clean air and water, fertile land for food production, and energy and raw materials for production. Green infrastructure also serves to regulate the climate and prevent floods. Access to green areas and waters offers important opportunities for recreation and also contributes to well-being.
However, the environment is also an important medium for human exposure to polluted air, noise, and hazardous chemicals. The World Health Organization (WHO) report, Preventing Diseases by Creating a Healthy Environment, estimates that environmental hazards are responsible for 12 to 18% of deaths in 53 countries in the WHO European Region.
In Europe, air pollution is the most significant environmental health risk associated with heart disease, stroke, lung disease, and lung cancer. Exposure to air pollution is estimated to lead to more than 400,000 premature deaths in the EU each year. Exposure to noise from transport sources and industrial activity can cause annoyance, sleep disturbance, and thus an increased risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
Through polluted air and water, consumer goods, and food, people are exposed to a wide range of chemicals in their daily lives. Due to their properties, certain hazardous chemicals persist in the environment and bioaccumulate in the food chain, which means that it takes a long time for emissions to decrease before exposure decreases. In addition, the amount and range of chemicals in use today, as well as the steady increase in chemical production, suggest that human and environmental exposure will continue to increase in the future. This raises concerns about the health effects of mixtures of chemicals throughout our lives, especially in vulnerable life stages.
The effects of climate change also pose a direct threat to health through heat waves and changes in infectious diseases and allergen patterns.
The quality of bathing water is generally outstanding in the EU, as an investment in the sewerage system, better wastewater treatment, and a reduction in pollution from farms are also steadily improving.
The general concern about the state of the environment is quite new. In different cultures and throughout history, many religious and philosophical traditions have dealt with the relationship between man and the rest of nature. Until recently, the general attitude in the so-called “developed” world was characterized by the domination and exploitation of nature. It was not until the early 1960s that the general public began to pay serious attention to the extent to which man was destroying the natural environment.
People are well aware that waste does not go away on its own. What happens in one place obviously affects other areas, and our activities, be it mining, logging, construction, or agriculture, have consequences locally and globally, and now and in the future. Thus, our concerns about the environment are inseparable from our concerns about the future of humankind, and our efforts to solve environmental problems must be based on the principles of equality, rights, and responsibility. The following are some examples of the relationship between human impacts on the environment and human rights.
The air we breathe into our lungs can be polluted by many things, such as small particles in the exhaust fumes of cars, the smoke from factory chimneys, the combustion products of household fuels, or tobacco smoke. Contaminants include ground-level ozone and microorganisms that favor the humid environment. exposure to various suspended particles reduces people’s life expectancy by an average of almost a year. Deteriorating air quality violates the right to life and the highest possible level of physical and mental health.
Sea level changes. Rising sea levels are leading to the swamping of some smaller, low-lying island nations and millions of people in all low-lying areas are at risk of flooding. Saltwater will affect low-lying agricultural areas. This is already being felt in many parts of the world, especially in the islands of the Southeast Pacific and Southeast Asia.
Extreme weather. Floods, droughts, and storms will be more frequent and severe.
Extinction. When the global temperature rises to reach 2 ° C, it is estimated that 30% of terrestrial species will be on the brink of extinction. X. _
Lack of food. With rising temperatures and changes in rainfall distribution, yields are expected to fall sharply in Africa, the Middle East, and India.
Lack of water. Changes in rainfall distribution result in droughts and floods. The available water supply will be smaller.
Diseases. As temperatures rise, certain diseases such as malaria, West Nile virus, dengue fever, and river blindness also appear in new areas.
Destruction of endangered areas. Damaged areas, such as overgrazed meadows, deforested mountain slopes, and cleared agricultural land, will be more exposed to the effects of climate change than before. XI. Environmental (ecological) refugees. As a combined effect of climate change and other environmental problems, more and more people are being forced to migrate or seek refuge from changes in their environment.