Every crisis situation brings a hidden opportunity with it. Interestingly, the COVID-19 pandemic, despite causing all the destruction and suffering in the United States and worldwide, is no different. According to the latest news related to environmental health, observing a strict lockdown is not just beneficial to contain the deadly virus from spreading, but also to heal rapidly deteriorating living conditions.
As of December 2020, the COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized and is all set to be distributed in Arizona. However, the White House officials have promised to make immunization possible in all 50 states. It is a wonderful development, but it also means that the lockdown will be eased, in which case, restrictions placed on the use of public transportation will no longer be applicable, including the aviation industry. Life would again return to normalcy with no regard to air pollution and its hazardous effects on environmental health and safety.
Sadly, it seems, the whole matter will be swept under the carpet. Now, the question is ‘do we need a similar kind of tragedy to take environmental health seriously in 2020 and beyond? It is high time we realize that deteriorating air and water quality could be the next big crisis even after the pandemic is over.
Let’s highlight some facts to identify the importance of a healthy environment for a sustainable life.
The whole Planet is like a Body
Everything on our planet is intricately connected with one another. Even if one key aspect is removed, the whole ecosystem will crumble just like a house of cards. For instance, rising incidents of wildfires in California are becoming a new normal. Most recently, in December 2020, the state roughly lost up to 100 million acres of land.
As a matter of fact, it was not just the area that got affected, but also wildlife and humans. If the same trend continues, all the neighboring areas will be engulfed in the near future and devour everyone. Consequently, the habitat will shrink and may no longer support life. This may force residents to migrate to safer areas, jeopardizing the local economy. The homeless and low-income groups could be hit the hardest.
Had timely steps been taken to reduce carbon emissions caused by industrial activities, the crisis could have been averted. Now, an astringent and aggressive action plan is needed to ensure the protection of environmental health.
Effects of Environment on Mental Health
Pollution is not only deteriorating the quality of the air we breathe, but it is also destroying essential water bodies and even the food we consume. The kind of diet people take these days is adulterated with toxic chemicals that impact cognitive functions of the brain. Hence, increasing cases of depression and anxiety disorders are ruining the quality of life. In addition, stressful working conditions where individuals have to meet tight deadlines also exacerbate the problem. As a result, suicidal ideation has become extremely common among the younger generation.
Technology giving rise to Environmental Health Concerns
Advanced technological gadgets have restricted the way people used to socialize. Communication with others merely requires a single tap on the screen of a smartphone device. Most importantly, those belonging to the adolescent group, spend most of their time browsing entertaining content such as video games, music, and movies. Instead of engaging in healthy physical activities, they prefer spending time with these devices.
Technology also affects the environment negatively. Its mechanism is based on harmful waves emitted by cellular networking towers installed on commercial buildings. These waves can cause health-related complications like insomnia, stress due to information overload, and even autoimmune diseases like brain cancer.
Moreover, recently released video gaming console like the PS5 in the United States also contributes to aggression among the younger generation. These video games are highly addictive and sometimes comprise explicit content.