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World Health Day 2022: Our Planet, Our Health

Are we able to reimagine a world where clean air, water and food are available to all?

Where economies are focused on health and well-being?

Where cities are liveable and people have control over their health and the health of the planet?

Looking at the history of the world and evolution of life forms on the planet ‘struggle’ was one prominent factor that was common. Life forms have struggled in the past to acclimatize and adapt to the environmental conditions of the planet. But today we see that one species of the nature has surpassed in terms of growth and has habited the entire planet. Now, the environment is changing and the planet is striving to adapt to the changing dynamics of the nature.

The ecosystem is stable only when all the linkages in the environment are stable. Any changes in the linkages collapses the ecosystem which is an interaction between the biotic and abiotic components in the nature. Not only humans are disturbing the existing ecosystems but also creating new ecosystems which can form linkages and can result in extinction of self. The origin of zoonotic viruses and its disease causing ability suggest creation of such new linkages. The technological advancements are making life easy but at the same time intervening in the process of creating new pathogens that are aiming at biological wars.

Technological advancements are utilizing natural resources at a pace that is decreasing the life of earth. For better living of our species we are exploiting the resources to a level that can cause extinction of many life forms including humans. Perhaps extinction of humans is the only way that the earth can be saved. In the history of mankind various revolutions have shaped our way of living and one such revolution that is instrumental in causing the earth to witness the pollution disaster is industrial revolution. Industrial revolution and its effects on the world are witnessed as the most futile period of mankind as it resulted in creation of more job opportunities, trading, wealth creation and increased standard of living. But in the long run we have faced the disaster of polluted earth where the basic elements that we require to live are scarce. Freshwater sources are limited, air that we breathe is polluted, soil that grow crops is polluted with chemicals and heavy metals, food we eat is lacking nutritional factors etc. So, healthy living is difficult as compared to wealthy living.

The polluted air, water and soil are the reservoirs for creation of superbugs and pathogen species that are deadly and infective. Such instances can result in spreading of novel pathogen origin pandemics such as COVID 19 and prevalent epidemics with increased infective ability in humans. Facing pandemic alone was a herculean task for even the developed countries so handling such double disasters of pandemics and epidemics would be even more difficult. So, conscious efforts are needed to protect our resources from pollution to avoid the health scare and novel pathogen origin diseases.

The only way that can help us live healthy is recreating the planet that it was. To achieve this, we need to cut down on the exploitation of resources and adopt the practices of reduce, reuse and recycle. Sustainable living in the present is the only way forward that can save us from brutal extinction where humans might extinct due to scarcity of fresh air and water which was abundant before civilization has occurred which is an irony in itself.