What is environmental quality?
Environmental quality is a general term which can refer to varied characteristics that relate to the natural environment as well as the built environment. Such as air and water purity or pollution, noise and the potential effects which such characteristics may have on physical and mental health caused by human activities.
It is a measure of the condition of an environment relative to the requirements of one or more species, any human need or purpose.
Why is environmental quality important?
The environment directly affects health status and plays a major role in quality of life, years of healthy life lived, and health disparities. Poor environmental quality has its greatest impact on people whose health status is already at risk. Globally, nearly 25% of all deaths and the total disease burden can be attributed to environmental factors.
The degradation of the environmental quality may be contributing to substantial increases in rates of obesity, diabetes, diseases of the cardiovascular and nervous systems, all of which are major public health problems. Reproductive and mental health problems are also on the rise. Asthma, allergies, and some types of cancer related to environmental pressures are of particular concern for children.
Factors affecting environmental quality.
Ozone Depletion: The increase in ozone layer depletion will invite the lethal ultraviolet rays from the sun which will increase cancer (especially skin cancer), eye damage (increase in cataracts of the eyes), injure plants and animals and marine life.
Global Warming: The consequences of global warming are likely to be very devastating and disturbing. Among other things, sea levels will rise as a result of melting of glaciers at the poles and the oceans will warm and expand.
Desertification: Desertification leads to loss of vegetation which forces men to migrate for their livelihood while the women are left behind to struggle on. About 35 percent of the earth’s area and 900 million people are affected by the problem of desertification.
Deforestation: Deforestation is one of the important issues of environmental change and degradation of soil. The main cause of deforestation is commercial exploitation of forests. Deforestation destroys symbiotic relationship between ecological infrastructure and animal and human species also.
Disposal of Wastes: Industrialization and urbanization are the main causes of domestic, industrial and nuclear wastes. The domestic, industrial and nuclear wastes are serious health hazards and may endanger the biosphere as well. Many rivers of India including the long seashore are the victims of this disposal of waste. Inadequate system of solid waste disposal causes adverse impact on health, infant mortality and the birth rate.
How to improve environmental quality?
The earth faces numerous environmental crises caused by pollution and other impacts from human beings. Here are some suggestions to cope with degrading environmental quality:
Use renewable energy sources such as wind, sun and geothermal; rather than nonrenewables such as oil and natural gas.
Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Cut down on what you throw away. Follow the three “R’s” to conserve natural resources and landfill space.
Conserve water. The less water you use, the less runoff and wastewater that eventually end up in the ocean.
Educate. When you further your own education, you can help others understand the importance and value of our natural resources.
Grow more Trees. Trees not only help in purifying the air around us but also benefit in million other ways, one of which is climate control. Trees contribute in maintaining the air quality by emitting oxygen and thus reduce the greenhouse effect from the atmosphere.
Say No to Plastics. Plastics are non-biodegradable substances that do not decompose ever. Plastics cause much land pollution and also prove fatal for animals.
Do not Litter your Surroundings. Littering around is in itself a bad habit that many of us have. However, it does not just make the place unhygienic but also affects the environment adversely.
Save Natural Resources. The reserves of non-renewable natural resources like coal and petroleum are limited and endangered. We have already exhausted these reserves by using them with carelessness. What we can do is to follow the idea of sustainable use and use these resources wisely and judiciously.
Reduce Pollution. Pollution is one of the major reasons for the degradation of the environment. All kinds of pollution like land, air and water act as mediums to ruin our beautiful earth and make it unsuitable to live in comfortably. Thus, we should stop practicing such activities at least at our level to help in reducing pollution.