Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
June 5, 2017

Protection of human environment — a major issue


June 5, 2017

Healthy ecosystem guarantees a healthy human race


Pollution not only increases spending on health care, but also decreases working ability and it is need of the time to pay attention to the ecosystem; plant life, animal life and people all depend on each other.

Without clean air to breath, a healthy ecosystem; the future of our children and the human race will not survive. Pakistan needs serious intervention to combat further environmental degradation with proper remediation and restoration for the sake of coming generations.

Protection and improvement of the human environment is a major issue, which affects the well-being of peoples and economic development throughout the world. Many people say there is a need to protect the environment, but do not really make any effort to do anything about it.

We live in a time when the environment is in danger, so it is important to protect it. We need to protect the environment now to help prevent health problems, to maintain the ecosystem, and preserve the earth for our children.

Professor and Head of Community Medicine at CMH Lahore Medical College Professor Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Chaudhry expressed this while talking to ‘The News’ in connection with World Environment Day which is observed on June 5 each year around the globe with a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern.

He said pollution from factories, cars, plastic bags, open burning of garbage and plastic objects and agriculture run offs damaging our environment very badly. Pakistan ranks seventh among the most adversely affected countries by climate change on Global Climate Risk Index (2017), having high vulnerability of future climate changes, he said.

The theme of World Environment Day for 2017 ‘Connecting People to Nature’ urges us to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and to think about how we are part of nature and how intimately we depend on it. It challenges us to find fun and exciting ways to experience and cherish this vital relationship.

Billions of rural people around the world spend every working day ‘connected to nature’ and appreciate their dependence on natural water supplies and how nature provides their livelihoods in the form of fertile soil. They are among the first to suffer when ecosystems are threatened, whether by pollution, climate change or over-exploitation.

Dr. Ashraf said connecting to nature involve all the physical senses. In recent decades, scientific advances as well as growing environmental problems such as global warming are helping us to understand the countless ways in which natural systems support our prosperity and well-being. For example, the world’s oceans, forests, and soils act as vast stores for greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane; scientists develop medicines using genetic material from millions of species that make up Earth’s astounding biological diversity, he explained.

He said solutions to environmental pollution in Pakistan must be implemented without delay. Many environmental problems seem so big that only governments, local authorities can deal with them. One example is global warming. We need government action to reduce emissions from coal and oil burning power stations and to develop safer sources of power. These require tough regulations and huge investment, he said.

He added that non-degradable plastic bags can be replaced with biodegradable ones. Legislating on industrial waste can be made easier by making industries responsible for their waste, imposing hefty fines on the polluters, and making them responsible for clean-up. Cost-effective solid municipal waste management means maximum recycling. For liquid municipal waste, properly designed treatment plants are needed with capacity for the expected population growth, said Dr. Ashraf.

He said another source of contamination is run off from agricultural farms. Use of less persistent/toxic chemicals according to instructions is needed. Education of farmers will be helpful. Establishment of standard laboratories for chemical and toxicity analysis is essential, he said.

He said that the single easiest and most effective way to reduce one’s personal contribution to global warming is to change one’s diet. Consumption of meat and dairy is one of the biggest contributions to Green House Gas Emissions. Eating less beef and dairy is one of the dietary changes that anyone can implement to reduce the personal contribution to climate change, he said.

To a query, Dr. Ashraf said we all need to consume less power. We need to turn off lights, replace insufficient bulbs with low-power ones, and not leave equipment to standby. Secondly we need to control our surging populations. Each of us can make a decision regarding family size. We need to consider more fruits and vegetables and less meat. We need to reduce our consumption, recycle and reuse. Recycling things is the best way to lessen and avoid global warming and climate change, he said.

He added that we should avoid open burning of garbage and plastic objects. Avoid throwing chemicals and trashes everywhere. Avoid using cars if it is just a short distance, he said.

He explained that identifying ways to reduce energy use can improve our health through walking, cycling, using public transport, better waste management and choosing products with smaller carbon impact.

Many of steps needed to prevent climate change have positive health benefits. The increase in physical activity from cycling and walking will lead to less obesity and fewer obesity-related illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease etc, concluded Dr. Ashraf.