Deccan Chronicle

Let's heal the planet and heal ourselves

Deccan Chronicle.| Sulogna Mehta

Published on: April 7, 2022 | Updated on: April 7, 2022

Human greed is the primary cause of damage to the planet's natural resources such as forests, seas, mountains and the atmosphere

A diseased planet cannot ensure healthy individuals

A diseased planet cannot ensure healthy individuals

In a recently released report, the WHO said 99% of the global population is inhaling toxic, polluted air laden with fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide. It has called for well-planned public transport, walking and cycling to improve air quality, mitigate climate change and stay fit and active. On the occasion of WHD, doctors, researchers and experts associated with the medical and healthcare
industry suggest practical measures that can be taken to restore holistic health on an individual as well as macro level.

‘Development by destroying and polluting nature should stop'

DR KUTIKUPPALA SURYA RAO, Padma Shri and WHO awardee, general physician and researcher

The Ps behind most of the damage to people and the planet are pollution (including plastic and pesticides), pathogens and the pandemic. Human greed is the primary cause of damage to the planet’s natural resources such as forests, seas, mountains and the atmosphere. And now even outer space is not spared.

This will ultimately backfire on humans, as the food chain will be disturbed, ecology will be out of balance and natural calamities and diseases will increase. Unless there is a major change in mindset and behaviour, no Swachh Bharat campaign or government policies can be effectively implemented. Also, for the future generation to survive, every individual should take a pledge not only to maintain healthy habits for themselves but also for overall environmental and global health. A diseased planet cannot ensure healthy individuals. It will cause more and more respiratory diseases, cancer, pathogen attacks and other ailments. To counter various health challenges, development should take place but not at the cost of nature.

‘Stick to traditional, conservative living for a sustainable future’

DR ALAGU V S VARSINI, IAS, commissioner of AYUSH department, Telangana

Health is a lifestyle, a continuous process. Simple modifications in daily life such as eating traditional, homemade food and following a simple natural lifestyle can go a long way in ensuring the health of individuals as well as the community. The problem is we are exploiting natural resources and creating synthetic artificial products. In the process, the natural resources are getting exhausted while the artificial ones like electronic gadgets are causing pollution and health hazards. In
many families, traditional homemade food has been almost replaced by unhealthy junk food, which even children are given. Due to fatty fast foods, a number of lifestyle diseases have cropped up, causing huge out-of-pocket medical expenses. This money could have been used in some productive
pursuits instead of on ailments. Therefore, a non-extravagant frugal lifestyle or conservative living is required for a sustainable tomorrow.

‘Focus on preventive medicine, promote hygienic living’

DR D NAGESHWAR REDDY, Chairman, AIG Hospitals

As the post-pandemic world dawns, health as a public subject has taken the pilot seat and it is imperative that we design and execute programmes that are focused on preventive medicine. Throughout the pandemic, collective health measures in form of hand-washing, wearing masks and social distancing taught us the value of having a public health mindset in preventing disease. We have to modify our approach towards holistic health by practicing basic hygiene and wellness habits. Sedentary lifestyle and related disorders are set to paralyse economies across the globe, therefore, it is imperative that we focus on individual fitness and nutritional requirements, thereby building the foundation for a healthy society.

Programmes like ‘Fit India Movement’ not only need to be endorsed by all communities but also need to be practiced diligently. Everyone involved in public health should advocate an active lifestyle aided by wholesome dietary habits. We need to aggressively promote a culture of hygienic living, which will go a long way in preventing the spread of communicable diseases while lessening the burden on public health infrastructure.

‘Make health a collaborative effort’

DR HEMA PRAKASH KUMARI, prof and HoD of Microbiology, Gitam Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (GIMSR)

Health is no longer an individual or family concept, especially post-pandemic. It is now more about preserving the world and natural resources for safeguarding ourselves in the long run. We have seen how disruption in the food chain, pollution and ecological imbalance between the human, animal and plant kingdom can wreak havoc by leading to global warming and natural calamities.

The pandemic proves that diseases or viruses that were hitherto limited to plants and animals, like the coronavirus in bats, have extended to the human world in a more resistant manner, mutating faster.

Vector-borne diseases are occurring even in posh high-rise buildings and not just in water-logged, unhygienic areas. Strange new diseases and pathogens are frequently spreading among humans. All these changes call for reflecting on our callous exploitation of the earth and polluting of the environment using new and dangerous technologies. It is high time that we modify our way of living, design an economy that won’t break and burden Nature further, practice healthy habits, incline ourselves towards an The success of The organic world and make holistic, social wellbeing a collaborative effort.

‘Public health education, legislative action and corporate reforms needed’

DR DEVI MADHAVI, head of the department of Community Medicine, Rangaraya Medical College and Government General Hospital, Kakinada

On the occasion of World Health Day-2022, WHO has focused on the urgent need for action against the climate crisis, which is the biggest threat facing humanity and it’s also a health hazard. Entire world is deprived of clean air, clean, safe drinking water and food. While extremes of weather and pollution are causing some species to go extinct, harmful chemicals entering the food chain
through biomagnification has resulted in increased incidences of ailments like cancers and other non-communicable diseases. On the other hand, Covid-19 pandemic focuses on the importance of equitable health care distribution, emergency preparedness and need for sustainable well-being societies. The health and wellbeing of humans and the planet can be achieved through legislative action and corporate reforms for ecological sustainability. Health education to people through BCC (behavior change communication) is also
needed to understand the reciprocal relationship between care for our
planet and ourselves.

‘Bridge the gaps, protect health/well-being of children’

DR SANJEEV UPADHYAYA, Health Specialist, UNICEF, Hyderabad office

The pandemic has highlighted systemic gaps in protecting the health and well-being of our children — including the capabilities of parents and caregivers for the holistic development of the child. This needs to be addressed.

Secondly, we need to promote the use of digital technology to empower caregivers, provide resources and effective services. Thirdly, there is a need to strengthen and build more resilient and integrated child health and development policies, programmes and service delivery platforms for children.

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