Environment and Health
Environment; It is a physical, biological, social, economic and cultural environment in which human beings and other living things maintain their relationships and interact with each other throughout their lives. In other words, the environment is the environment or conditions in which an organism exists, and it coexisted with the first creature on earth.
Maintaining a healthy life is only possible with a healthy environment. The deterioration of the environment, which is a system of relations and the emergence of environmental problems, generally started with the disruption of natural balances by human factors. Human life is based on various balances. The ruptures in the rings of the chain, which constitute the natural balance created by the human environment, affect the entire chain and cause this balance to deteriorate and cause environmental problems.
The main problems faced by people in terms of environment can be summarized as follows:
- Increasing pollution of our air, water and soils with each passing day and a significant part of it becoming unusable,
- In particular, the metropolitan and industrial zones become uninhabitable due to environmental pollution,
- Depletion of the ozone layer,
- Increasing warming of the earth,
- Increased cancer and similar diseases,
- Rapid depletion of natural resources.
Environmental pollution or pollution is defined as follows: Foreign substances that adversely affect the health of all living things, create structural damages on inanimate environmental elements and deteriorate their quality; air, water and soil. Or “Environmental pollution is ecological damage caused by humans, which disrupts natural balance in ecosystems.”
Causes of Environmental Pollution
Environmental pollution occurs due to the high accumulation of solid, liquid and gaseous pollutants from various sources in air, water and soil.
The main types of pollution are:
Air Pollution The rise of pollutants in the atmosphere in the form of dust, smoke, gas, odor and impure water vapor to amounts that can harm human beings and other living things is called “Air Pollution.. The limit values for air pollutants (the highest non-hazardous in air) are determined by the relevant authorities of each country. Depending on the nature of the pollutants, the types and degrees of damage to living things also vary. The measures that can be taken against air pollution are very different according to the source of pollution ( factory , thermal power plant, residences, vehicles).
These measures can be grouped into three main groups, mainly technical and legal measures.
Water Pollution Water pollution is the event of mixing with water in the amount and intensity that will cause undesirable harmful substances to deteriorate the quality of the water in a measurable rate. The main sources of water pollution are processes and materials such as dwellings, industrial establishments, thermal power plants, fertilizers, chemical pesticides, agro-industrial waste water, hot water from nuclear power plants and soil erosion. All of these directly or indirectly damage living and non-living assets.
Measures to be taken against water pollution can be divided into two groups:
1-Measures to save water usage (household administration, agricultural irrigation, water use in industry, etc.)
2-Technical measures to clean water. The first group of measures envisages reducing the amount of waste contaminated water. Technical measures, on the other hand, ensure that water is contaminated and that contaminated water is treated.
Soil Pollution spindle “soil decreases the output power to urine, optimum soil to degrade the properties and events all technical and ecological pressures” soil pollution or soil contamination is characterized as. Soil pollution is caused by substances polluting the air and water. For example, rain droplets passing through an atmosphere layer with a high sulfur dioxide content come into the soil as “acid precipitations ”.
This acidic water entering the soil damages the roots of the tree, vegetative and animal soil organisms. It affects the reaction of the soil, disrupts the balance of nutrients and makes the ground water non-smoking. Likewise, water leaking from garbage piles into the soil, dirty irrigation water, fertilizer solutions, radioactive substances, fly ashes, soil pollutants and resources. A wide range of technical, ecological and legal measures are taken to prevent soil pollution.
Radioactive Pollution Nuclear power plants, nuclear weapons producing factories, radioactive material residues are the main sources of radioactive pollution. Radioactive substances emit electrons, air, water, soil and damage to plants. Animal products (meat, fish, milk, etc.) and plants with radioactive substances (with radiation) carry this harmful substance to humans and other creatures through the food chain. As a result, they cause diseases that are impossible to treat, such as paralyzing the immune mechanism and damaging organs.
A clean environment is essential for human health and well-being. However, the interactions between environment and human health are extremely complex and difficult to evaluate. This makes it particularly useful to use precautionary measures. The best-known health effects are due to ambient air pollution, poor water quality and poor sanitation. Much less is known about the health effects of hazardous chemicals. Noise is a emerging environmental and health issue. Climate change, thinning of statospheric ozone, loss of biodiversity and soil degeneration can also affect human health.
In Europe, the largest environmental health problems are due to indoor and outdoor air pollution, poor water quality, inadequate sanitation and hazardous chemicals. Their health consequences include respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, cancer, asthma and allergies, as well as reproductive and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Fine particulate matter and ground-level ozone are the main threats to human health from air pollution . The EU’s Clean Air for Europe (CAFE) program, a total of 348 per year due to exposure to fine particulate matter (PM 2.5 ) . 000 estimates that premature death has occurred. At this exposure level, the average life expectancy decreased by about one year.
The EU Green Book on noise exposure states that approximately 20 % of the EU population is suffering from levels of noise that are considered unacceptable to health professionals, ie noise, which can lead to distress, sleep disturbance and undesirable health consequences.
Transportation, especially in urban areas, is one of the most contributing factors to the exposure of people to air pollution and noise.
Much less is known about the health effects of chemicals. Concerns about the effects of exposure to chemical mixtures at low levels and for prolonged periods of time are increasing during life, particularly in early childhood and pregnancy.
Permanent chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls ( PCBs ) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and those used in long-lasting structures – such as building materials – may continue to pose risks even after production.
Many pollutants known to affect human health are gradually being subjected to regulatory controls. However, there are emerging problems with unknown environmental and health effects. Examples include electromagnetic fields (EMF), surrounding pharmaceuticals, and certain infectious diseases (where propagation conditions are likely to be affected by climate change). The development of ‘early warning’ systems should be encouraged to identify the potential hazard and shorten the time between policy action or intervention.
Human health has always been threatened by natural hazards such as hurricanes, floods, fires, landslides and droughts. Human activities such as deforestation, climate change and loss of biodiversity and being unprepared aggravate their consequences.
Effects of Acid Rain on the Environment
Acid rain affects the chemical structure and biological conditions of the soil. Calcium, magnesium in the structure of the soil, such as washing the elements to the ground water by washing, weakening of the soil and causes the decrease of agricultural yield. The most contributing agents to the acidification of the soil are the sulfur compounds that enter the soil as a result of accumulation in the atmosphere. Nitrogen compounds, on the other hand, play a role in the acidification of the soil when they are more than the amount that plants can assimilate.
Although indirectly, acidification is one of the most important effects of acidification on the environment. They can react with toxic substances such as mercury, cadmium or aluminum that have landed in the soil or lake beds, and are considered insoluble under normal conditions, resulting in acidic moisture, plant, animal and human by way of food chain or drinking water to create toxic effects. The responsible for the deterioration of the nutrient collection ability of the tree roots is the aluminum activated in the soil as a result of acidification.
In most large cities, the damage caused by acid rain to man-made buildings and monuments is numerous. Historical buildings, buildings, open metal surfaces, paint coatings and some plastics show degradation due to sulfur dioxide and precipitation of this acid.