Environmental Health is defined as an aspect of human health that is determined by physical, chemical, biological, social and psychological factors in the environment. A healthy environment leads to healthy people. One should be really careful about recycling and disposing of materials. We rely on our earth to supply us with clean water, breathable air and healthy food, all of which can be put in danger with sloppy throwing away of rubbish.
Therefore, green practices aim to increase awareness in societies of the consequences of continuing in the same way as we are now. One of these is environmental diseases-which include respiratory problems from pollution, and infectious diseases from global warming. As such 5R is introduced to the society. According to the 5 R’s, four actions should be taken, prior to ‘recycling’ which are refuse, reduce, reuse and repurpose.
The United Nations (UN) defines sustainable development as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The UN includes fighting poverty, hunger, lack of water and food as essential sustainable development goals. Fossil fuels somehow negatively impacted the environment, while green strategies with renewable energies and materials remain the best and most reliable approach to combat environmental issues. Anyhow, it is imperative to plan for the future, a crucial aspect of environmental consciousness.
Global warming and climate change happens due to human activities since the pre-industrial period. Our environment is under stress as a result of factors such as temperature increment, water scarcity, increased heat waves, drought, weed and insect invasions, severe storm damage, and salt invasion- just to mention a few. Recently, examples of flooding, heat waves, droughts, rising sea levels, and erratic rainfall have been observed in the United States, Asia, and Europe which are linked to climate change.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), climate change is responsible for at least 150,000 deaths per year, a figure that is expected to double by 2030. Unfortunately, the poorest and most vulnerable countries, as well as those who have contributed the least to the problem, will be amongst the hardest hit by global warming just like the devastating floods in Pakistan. This is worrisome and it is the most pressing threat to our planet. Therefore, there is a need to instill care, create and chart (3C) the trend of environmental pollution and its effect on human health by reducing the carbon footprint in our daily life.
While we understand the effort of United Nations and other notable organizations around the world, we want to seize this golden opportunity to make a passionate call to all countries particularly Malaysian government to take the following actions with immediate clarity to save our beautiful planet. For example, funding more research activities particularly in the area of environmental management such as CO2 transformation into value added products and collaborate with businesses to cut carbon emissions.
Apart from that, it is necessary to promote policies that encourage clean and renewable energy and enforce it accordingly. More awareness and campaign on the use of synthetic plastic in mass media, to the extent of sensitize the ignorant citizens on the negative impact of environmental pollution and global warming.
All these efforts will assist the citizen and nature in adapting to climate change. Just by implementing a small change in our daily habits like saying no to single-use plastics, smaller carbon footprints, transformation of concentrated atmospheric CO2 into hydrocarbon fuels, the number of toxins released into the atmosphere will be reduced drastically. This effort is aligned to Target 12.5 by the United Nations to ensure sustainable consumption of natural resources through reduce waste generation particularly the single use packaging in daily life by 2030. Future generations ultimately will benefit from improved air, fewer landfills and more renewable energy sources.
Professor Dr Hazleen Anuar is from Department of Manufacturing and Materials Engineering, International Islamic University Malaysia, Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Yakubu Adekunle Alli (A postdoctoral research fellow and climate change advocate), from LCC-CNRS, Université de Toulouse, CNRS, UPS, 205 Route de Narbonne, BP44099, 31077 CEDEX 4 Toulouse, France. Email : email@example.com