Essay on Environment and Human Health

Health means disease free body. The state of health of the people does not depend on the number of doctors and hospitals, but also on clean environment. An unclean environment can cause a number of health problems because ecological changes have a direct impact on human health.

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There are certain changes in the human environment that increase the incidence of many diseases. Such changes include socio-economic and cultural changes leading to stress of many kinds of human health.

For instance, urbanization and industrial stress, population stress and others ultimately bring about changes in the human environment, making it a paradise for infectious agents. Nearly 80% of the world’s diseases, particularly in developing world can be linked with water. In our country there are 14 river systems. About 90% of pollution load in river system is due to human waste.


In our country Kerala has much lower mortality rates than even the national average. The reasons are high literacy in women and better environmental sanitation.

In Rajasthan the situation is very bad. Nearly 8000 villages in Rajasthan and Central India are affected with Guinea worm disease. Return of malaria, filarial and kalazar in Japan is also due to adverse environmental conditions.

Keeping the dangerous effects of bed environment following points must be kept in view:

1. Future impact assessment of all development projects must include health aspect as well.


2. Habitat management is very vital.

3. Disease control should not be taken in isolation. There should be cooperation of doctors, health educators, social anthropologists, media men, engineers, socio-economists and others.

4. Health care should not be biased towards cities. There should be proper care in villages also.

Contaminated water is the main cause of bad human health. The potable water contaminated with faces is the chief cause of some important diseases of man.


The enteric diseases are transmitted mainly by swallowing food or drinking contaminated with feces. Typhoid fever, dysentery (bacterial and amoebic), cholera and other enteric diseases are caused by consumption of contaminated water. Some common human bacterial diseases transmitted by focally contaminated.

Sanitation Bulletin:

An emergency sanitation bulletin should include the following:

1. Drinking Water-Use Only Safe Water:

Assume all sources are unsafe for use until approved by local health department. Meanwhile, use health department-approved bottled water, or water distributed by health department-approved tank truck. Or, disinfect water using a household liquid bleach disinfectant containing at least 5 percent available chlorine by weight: To one gallon of clear water, mix 6 to 8 drops of bleach (one teaspoonful to 10 liter gallon); let the solution stand for 30 min before drinking.

If the water is cloudy and contains particles, allow the particles to settle. Pour off the clear water into a separate container and add to it double the amount of bleach mentioned above; or heat water at a rapid boil for 2 min (10 minutes in areas where amebiosis or giardiasis are endemic); or disinfect water using purification tablets. Carbonated beverages are satisfactory.

Follow water utility and health department direction to conserve water.

2. To Disinfect Your Well:

First, pump well until water is clear, then:

(i) Mix one of liquid bleach in 5 gallon water. (For driven wells, use 6 tablespoons to 5 gal).

(ii) Pour solution into well through top of casing or use vent pipe where available.

(iii) Pump until chlorine odour appears at all taps and then close taps.

(iv) If possible, reopen one tap and recirculate water back into well by means of a garden hose for at least 1 hour, then close tap.

(v) Repeat steps 1 through 30 to assure that the chlorinated water has circulated through the entire toilet flushing.

(vi) Pump heavily chlorinated water to waste, away from grass and shrubbery.

3. Milk and Food:

Use only pasteurized milk. When the safety of milk is in doubt, or when only raw milk is available, bring the milk to a boil and cool in a clean container. If boiling is not possible, canned or powdered milk mixed with safe water can be used.

Cook all foods thoroughly. Frozen foods that have been thawed should be discarded if not consumed immediately or kept refrigerated at 45° F or lower.

Avoid creamed dishes, hash, puddings, meat, poultry, and pre-prepared salads unless refrigeration (45° F or lower) can be assured.

Utensils can be used if clean and not exposed to flood water. Raw foods exposed to flood waters should be avoided unless cooked because of possible contamination. If raw foods necessary to be used, clean thoroughly and soak in chlorinated water (Vi oz or 2 teaspoonfuls of 5 percent liquid bleach solution per gallon of water) at least for 5 minutes. Destroy the contents of crown-capped bottles and foods in glass jars.

Destroy canned food in tins where swelling, leaking, rusting, or serious denting is visible. Wash off and immerse all hermetically sealed cans in good condition in a bleach disinfecting solution (lA oz or 2 teaspoonfuls of 5 percent liquid bleach solution per gal of water) for at least 5 min prior to use.

Clean and then disinfect all utensils and equipment prior to use in the same manner as above. Silverware should be immersed in boiling water for at least 2 min. (CAUTION: Disinfection with a bleach solution will cause tarnishing).

Use single-service paper or plastic dishes, cups, and utensils where possible.

4. Sewage and Excreta Disposal:

When flush toilets cannot be used, use a small covered watertight bucket with a removable plastic liner to receive body wastes. Use a small amount of chlorine bleach, chlorinated lime, or any commercially available preparation which disinfects and deodorizes, follow manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the plastic liner as necessary; tie and place it into a large watertight, rodent and insect-proof garbage can with a tight cover for temporary storage.

The wastes may be disposed with the garbage when normal collection is restored, or by burial in a deep hole with at least 18 in of dirt cover located at a distance of not less 100 ft from any well or surface water, or, when and where feasible, by emptying the contents into the flush and carefully disposing of the plastic bag with the garbage. Use the temporary public toilets established in the disaster area; they may be located over sewer manholes.

5. Insect and Rodent Control:

To prevent breeding, store and dispose of garbage, sewage, and dead animals according to instructions. Drain standing water where ever possible, including containers of stagnant water.

Treat standing water with kerosene, fuel oil, or a commercially available larvicide during mosquito breeding season; apply 3 oz (6 tablespoons) per 100ft2 of water surface or in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

To kill rats, when trapping proves unsatisfactory, use commercially available “quick kill” poisons- such as zinc phosphide or red squall. Follow directions on the label. USE WITH CARE! Keep these poisons out of the reach of children and away from animals. Store in a locked cabinet

6. Refuse Collection, Storage, and Disposal:

Drain and warp garbage in several layers of newspaper to absorb moisture store garbage in watertight, rodent-and insect-proof containers having a tight- fitting cover. Use of plastic liner if available bury garbage when necessary in a hole deep enough to provide for at least 18 in of dirt cover and located at least 100 ft from any well or surface water.

Store all other refuse in a convenient place until normal collection services are provided, or take to the nearest designated place established by local authorities. Bury all dead animals as quickly as possible at a distance of at least 100 ft. from any well or surface water and cover to a depth of at least 2 ft.

7. Household Cleanup Procedure:

Cellars -If possible, wait for the groundwater level to drop below floor level. Otherwise, drain or pump water from flooded cellars, being careful to avoid the collapse of walls caused by the pressure of the water-saturated ground around the basement.

Postpone pumping if groundwater level is high. Wash down the walls, floors, and other areas exposed to floodwaters; keep windows and doors open for ventilation. Disinfect the washed area by applying a solution of bleach with a broom or stiff brush.

Allow the solution to remain in contact for approximately 10 min. The solution is prepared by adding 2 oz of bleach to 5 gal of water. Rinse with cold water as soon as possible to minimize staining. Any commercially available disinfectant can be used.

Floor Coverings- Flush rugs and carpets with house and squeegee, then wash with lukewarm water containing a detergent. Rinse and dry in sun.

CAUTION: Wool fibers will shrink more than synthetic materials.

Furniture- Clean and then wash metals, plastic, and leather surfaces with mild soap and water and wipe dry immediately. Some upholstery may be washed on the surface with soap and water and wiped dry. Expose to open air and sunshine.

8. Safety Precaution:

Entering into Damaged Buildings- proceed with caution. If you have any doubts about the structural safety of a building, seek professional advice or assistance before going in. Check for visible signs of buckled walls, loose bricks, cracks, or shifting of foundation.

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