Health hazards posed by population- I
Health hazards posed by population- I.Advancement of technology has decreased the mortality rate significantly. However, the health of a person is influenced by several factors.
Advancement of technology has decreased the mortality rate significantly. However, the health of a person is influenced by several factors. These can be genetic influences, behavioural influences or environmental influences.Genetic influences include psychological and physiological characteristics of an organism. The inherited mutations or abnormalities are carried on to the next generations. Disorders like- allergies, hypertension, diabetes, etc. are not entirely genetic but result due to the interaction of a person with his environment. These are a result of lack of proper nutrition, stress, hormones, drugs and other factors.
Behavioural influences include- alcoholism, smoking, use of drugs, tobacco chewing or irregular food habits causing various kinds of health problems.Coming to environmental influences, there are various components of environment which exert their influence on health. These can be grouped under physical, chemical, biological, sociological and psychological factors.
- Unregulated growth of habitations, inadequate infrastructure facilities and lack of proper facilities for collection, transportation, treatment and disposal of wastes have all contributed to increased pollution causing health hazards
- Lack of proper toilets, especially in villages, towns and slum areas of cities do not permit proper disposal of human waste which in turn leads to improper sanitary conditions and health hazards
- Scarcity of clean drinking water is one of the major causes for the spread of many water borne diseases.
- Poor drainage or improper drainage results in the accumulation of waste water in public places in villages, towns and cities. Animal excreta and movement of cattle in and out of water pools and puddles spreads this filth over larger areas further causing sanitary problems
- Contamination of food, often due to lack of understanding of the reasons and consequences is another health hazard faced by humans
- Poor personal hygiene and eating without washing of hands leads to many types of health problems
With rise in water polluting bodies, villages have no access to safe drinking water. Numerous health problems and diseases in villages are caused due to unsafe drinking water. Improper disposal or lack of disposal of excreta adds to the sanitation problems. These are linked to high infant mortality rate and low life expectancy. Provision of low cost toilets in villages is a very important program of rural development. Ignorance of hygiene and sanitation adds to the problems. Dissemination of knowledge and provision of safe drinking water is an important agenda. Rural households are not properly ventilated. As a result they suffer lack fresh air. Also, many rural households have single room units, which get filled with smoke from burning of fire wood and biomass and therefore do not get adequate sunlight. They lack proper drainage that leads to contamination of ground water and other sources of drinking water.
Even in cities, improper drainage mechanisms result in the accumulation of waste water from puddles of dirty water. Animals like cattle, dogs and pigs roam freely in cities and their excreta makes the conditions worse. Roads are not proper and the different types of transport further pollute the environment and cause health problems. Rapid growth of urbanization has adversely affected the environment.About 1/5th of the urban population resides in slums and 1/3rd of the population does not have access to sanitation and clean drinking water, which results in poor health.
Most cities have many unplanned and haphazard areas with inadequate infrastructure. Industrial areas have been established without environmental assessment. Inadequate commercial areas, inadequate transport network, inadequate green and recreational areas and lack of consideration for environment in planning have led to chaos and environmental degradation. Discharge of sewage into open drains, contaminate city water supply, especially during rainy season.
Slums are unplanned aggregations of hutments arranged very closely without any space for roads, parks, drains, etc. Often several people are crammed in each of these small hutments, which do not have proper ventilation. Cooking on wood burning choollahs fills them with smoke, resulting in many respiratory problems and diseases. Generally toilets are absent, making life difficult especially for women. Lack of proper drainage leads to very unhygienic conditions. Due to unavailability of clean drinking water, these people suffer from diseases like dysentery, which is often fatal to children in these areas.
Many industries are established in an unplanned manner and without environmental impact assessment. This results in air, water, soil and noise pollution and their undesirable consequences. The industrial effluents and waste are often hazardous and may contain toxic heavy metals and other toxic materials, some of which ultimately leach down and contaminate ground water, making it unfit for drinking and other usage.
It is very common in cities to have commercial activities in areas meant exclusively for residential purposes. Since these are unplanned, there is no proper infrastructure for these activities. There is lot of overcrowding in a confined area. Haphazard parking makes movement of traffic and people difficult. Daily generation of garbage- both domestic and commercial- is often dumped at the roadside, making the whole area filthly and unhygienic. Burning of tree leaves and plant residues also leads to air pollution, especially during winters.
Most often the traffic is chaotic due to inadequate roads, poor enforcement of traffic rules, too many vehicles and lack of proper public transport.The movement of vehicles leads to atmospheric pollution due to the emission from the vehicles, suspended particulate matter and smoke, especially from diesel vehicles.