By Dr Paul Anthony Mariadas
IN today’s world, many people including preterm babies are suffering from the greatest environmental disease, which is caused by pollution. Almost nine million premature deaths, in 16 per cent of all death worldwide, were caused by pollution diseases in 2015. The premature deaths’ rate exceeded three times more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined and fifteen times higher than from the wars and other forms of violence.
Pollutions are created by humans. Environmental degradation is an action, which human beings use any ways to ruin or harm the nature of the earth. For example, throwing rubbish into the sea, industries creating a huge and dirty fog on the air, poisonous gas from vehicles, etc. So, we can say that environmental degradation leads to pollution. Malaysia is an advanced country with a focus on industrialization.
To protect the environment, in 2018, the federal government of Malaysia spent almost RM1.8 billion on pollution management. National Environmental Policy (NEP) guides Malaysia’s environment and resource management. The policy has goals to elevate economic, social, and cultural progress via environmentally sound and sustainable development. The policy is established on eight principles that harmonize economic development goals with the environment. Here are the eight principles that the National Policy on the Environmental is adopted:
• Stewardship of the Environment. For example, exercise, respect, and care for the environment
• Conservation of nature’s vitality. For example, life support system, and biodiversity
• Continuous improvement of the quality of the environment and human life while pursuing economic growth and human development objectives
• Sustainable use of natural resources and prevention of environmental degradation
• Integration of environmental considerations into decision-making processes
• Strengthening the role of the private sector
• Commitment and accountability by all stakeholders
• Active and effective participation of the international community
The bond between humans and the environment is automatically symbiotic, so it is considered an obligation to protect the nature of the earth. In general, with proper options and remedial action, pollution can eventually be controlled.
To reduce water pollution, air pollution and growing the life of plants, people need great housekeeping and maintenance of process equipment. There are always some dangerous risks when we do something that is out of control in life, and the consequences are not only affecting the creator but also will affect every people around, especially, when we try harming the environment that we live in.
Most of the pollution starts at home. Begin with the daily vehicle we drive to work or school, to products we use for our own well then to chemicals things we use to grow our gardens. Reducing pollution from our house could contribute much to environmental health protection.
Education is the first suggestion because everything starts with education, without it we will never understand each other, and we will never have the attitude as human beings. As most people said that education comes first from parents at home, we learned from their examples and experiences.
Then when the time comes, we started to enrol in school and that is the time when we began to learn sciences. There are compulsory subjects and optional subjects to learn. Referring to the development of environmental health protection it is better for schools to add one compulsory subject that is related to the environment. For example Environmental sciences.
With that subject, students will learn all the theories about the environment or the earth’s nature including how to protect them and hopefully they could practice their knowledge in their everyday life. For example: changing their consumption habit, using public transportation instead of private vehicles, stop throwing garbage on the streets, etc.
Next, regulations are always important within a country, people must live under regulations, without proper regulation human beings can become savages and probably a country will fall due to no regulations. For environmental health protection we need more rigorous regulations on that, because if we don’t, then irresponsible people will continue to harm the environment and the government will spend more money to no result. It is a fact that most people destroy the environment because of their self-satisfying. With tighter regulations, this may reduce gradually.
Besides, there is a famous term, that is able to reduce environmental degradation which is 3R (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle). Reduction means minimizing the waste we produce. Reuse means making use of the things that were previously used or can donate things to others so that they can use them again. Recycle means taking reusable things and making them into new products.
Apart from that, sustainable energy is interpreted as power, which can be refilled in a man lifetime and no long-term damage caused to the environment. All renewable energy sources, for example, hydroelectricity, biomass, geothermal, wind, wave, tidal and solar energies are included in sustainable energy. However, some renewable energy sources cannot be fulfilled to become sustainable energy or sustainability. Such as biofuels production, like ethanol from fermentation is proven to be non-sustainable.
The source of all energies comes from the sun. Heat and light are the primary forms of solar energy. The environment absorbed the sunlight along with the heat and transformed them into a multitude of ways. Sustainable energies give a great chance for mitigation of greenhouse gas and minimizing global warming through the changes of energy sources. In addition, wind and solar energy generate electricity without the increasing of air pollution and they do not need any water to operate, so it is automatically shown that they do not create water pollution and it could be a major benefit for man’s life. For example non-infected agriculture, safe drinking water, etc.
In conclusion, pollution and environmental degradation have never provided us with the advantages instead they give us as many drawbacks as they got worse. Many people have died because of the impacts of pollutions and today’s world is changing due to the careless acts of irresponsible people. So as human beings we must support each other in protecting our earth, because we were born in it, and we live in it. There are many ways to overcome pollutions and we must practice them to save ourselves and environmental health.
*The writer is a Senior Lecturer of Economics at the School of Accounting and Finance Taylor’s University, Malaysia.