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Saturday, 21 December 2013

ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH & CHILDREN

In the 66 years of India’s independence, at least 60 million people have died prematurely due to diarrhea and malnutrition. More than 5million people die each year from water related diseases – 10 times the number killed in wars. At least one million children died every year since independence because of lack of clean drinking water.

Liver and lung diseases resulting from vehicular pollution affect number of people every day. The recent years have witnessed a sharp rise in pollution levels, because of the ever increasing number of vehicles plying on the roads. In addition to vehicular emission, factories too also responsible for urban pollution related disorders. According to estimates, city dwellers are currently being exposed to more than 200 tones of pollutants every day, of which more than 75% can be directly traced to vehicular pollution.

India loses about US $ 95 billion every year on account of sickness and death from pollution and economic costs attributed to resource degradation, says the World Bank’s annual Environmental Review. Environmental degradation in the region continues to worsen by increasing industrial pollution in urban areas and degeneration from the unsustainable use of land, forest and water resources in rural and coastal areas.

Humans are stressed and disease prevalence is worsened, by widespread malnutrition and the unprecedented increase in air, water, and soil pollution. According to researchers, the impact of air pollution will get worse as the number of vehicles on the road is rising at three times the rate of the world’s population. Smoke from indoor cooking fires kills 4 million children per year, and lack of sanitary conditions contributes to another 4 million death, mostly among infants in developing countries.

While studying the relationship between increasing pollution levels, and pollution trends, climate change and emerging diseases, a team of US scientists says that 40% of all death world-wide is due to environmental pollution and global warming can worsen the situation. It is therefore important that improving environmental conditions form an important part of health care, because curative care alone will not be sufficient as more succumb to these diseases.


Involving students & teachers in health matters to promote health awareness with the objective of disseminating information related to behaviors which influence health (like diet, physical activity and avoidance if addictions like tobacco) and the disorders caused by unhealthy behaviors (such as heart diseases, cancers, diabetes and obesity), among school children. It strongly believes that community mobilization through health education is a key element in bringing about health changes and the youth, in particular, have to be assisted in learning to live healthy and stay healthy. The logic behind targeting school going children is that behaviors get etched during early school days and can be positively influenced by providing appropriate information in an engaging manner. Students also respond to this learnt information with conviction and commitment and serve as effective agents of change in family and community settings. School teachers have also been activated to bring about a positive health behavior change by promoting informed and enabling interactions among children. SED has been conducting for students and teachers, assembly talk & interactive sessions, quiz programmes, poster & elocution contests, and project work. Environmental barriers are identified and addressed by health promoting policies, through enabling regulatory or legislative measures. The activities of SED include promotion of informed debates on health related issues and encourage students to actively articulate demands for appropriate governmental policy (legislation/ regulation) which will be conducive to their present and future health. 

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