Environmental Issues on Global Health

Topics: Pollution, Air pollution, Health care Pages: 5 (1424 words) Published: October 10, 2011
Environmental Issues on Global Health

Seven Environmental Issues

Complete the following chart by identifying seven environmental issues that affect global health. In the second column, describe in complete sentences how the issue affects global health.

Environmental issueHow does the issue affect global health? OverpopulationThe Earth’s natural resources are already being consumed at an unsustainable rate. Many of these resources are required to support world health and human life (Donnatelle, 2010). Human population is expected to increase dramatically over the next decade. This, alone, is the greatest threat to life on our planet.

Air pollutionAir pollution affects everything from agriculture and ecosystems to human health, on a global scale. The five major air pollutants are ground-level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide (Donnatelle, 2010). A majority of these pollutants are the result of human action. One example being coal power plants. These plants release greenhouse gas emissions and particle air pollution. The burning of the coal creates pollutant byproducts. Other forms of industrial pollution, exhaust fumes, burning wood, and several forms of indoor air pollutants result in air contamination. The combination of various air contaminates can be extremely toxic. The pollutants irritate the lungs and may even cause respiratory diseases and cancer in humans (Donnatelle, 2010).

Ozone Layer Depletion / Global WarmingThe ozone layer protects us from ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. UVB radiation damages human DNA, weakens the immune system, and is the primary cause of skin cancer (Donnatelle, 2010).

As a result of human activity, such as burning fossil fuels, the increased atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have thinned the ozone layer. It is believed that this has accelerated global warming. Melting polar ice caps, threatened eco-systems and catastrophic weather have all been attributed to global warming.

Water Pollution & ShortagePure water is in short supply. More than half of the world population does not have access to potable (safe) water. Nearly 40 percent of the population lacks access to even the most basic sanitation, and upwards of 4,000 children die daily due to illnesses from contaminated water (Donnatelle, 2010).

Petroleum products, industrial pollutants, lead, chemicals, and pesticides seep their way into soil, groundwater, lakes, and rivers. Exposure to these toxins is often devastating. Many chemicals are known to cause cancer (Donnatelle, 2010). Land PollutionMuch of the waste that ends up polluting the water starts out polluting the land (Donnatelle, 2010). A majority of the world has grown accustomed to a throw-away lifestyle, which is neither healthy nor sustainable. The amount of waste the industrialized world generates is shocking.

Hazardous WasteHazardous waste may pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health. It may also cause or contribute to an increase in mortality, or an increase in irreversible or incapacitating illness (E.P.A. 2011).

Noise PollutionShort-term exposure to noise pollution reduces concentration and productivity. Long-term exposure may affect mental health and even lead to loss of hearing (Donnatelle, 2010).

Which of the seven environmental issues is the most damaging to the environment and why?

All seven environmental problems detailed above can be attributed, either directly or indirectly, to over population. Increasing human population is the planet’s biggest environmental problem. As our population grows, the Earth’s resources vanish. All of Earth’s natural resources, like fertile land and clean water, are disappearing at an unbelievable rate (Donnatelle, 2010).

The human population ravenously consumes natural resources, pollutes the air and water, tears down natural habitats, destroys ecosystems, and causes other species to...

References: Donnatelle, R. (2010). Access to Health (Green ed.). San Fransisco, CA: Cummings/Pearson.
Environmental Protection Agency. (2011, July 26). Hazardous Waste. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/osw/hazard/
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