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Ee2fbunit 7 Document Transcript

  • 1. UNIT 7:HUMAN POPULATION nations and the biorich countries.AND THE ENVIRONMENT Degradation of ecosystems will lead to extinction of thousands ofPOPULATION GROWTH, species, destabilizing natural ecosystemsVARIATION of great value.AMONG NATIONS These are only some of theOur global human population, 6 billion environmental problems related to anat increasing human population and morepresent, will cross the 7 billion mark by intensive use of resources that2015. we are likely to face in future. TheseThe needs of this huge number of human effects can be averted by creating a massbeings cannot be supported by the environmental awareness movement thatEarth’s natural will bring about a change in people’sresources, without degrading the quality way of life.of human life. Increase in production per capita ofIn the near future, fossil fuel from oil agricultural produce at a global levelfields will ceased during the 1980’s. In somerun dry. It will be impossible to meet the countries, food shortage has become ademands for food from existing agro permanent feature. Two of everysystems. Pastures will be overgrazed by three children in South Africa aredomestic animals underweight.and industrial growth will create ever- In other regions famines due to droughtgreater have become more frequent. Presentproblems due to pollution of soil, water development strategies have not beenand air. able to successfully address theseSeas will not have enough fish. Larger problems related to hunger andozone malnutrition. On the other hand, onlyholes will develop due to the discharge 15% of the world’s population in theof industrial chemicals into the developed world is earning 79% ofatmosphere, which will affect human income! Thus the disparity in the extenthealth. Global warming due of per capita resources that are usedto industrial gases will lead to a rise in by people who live in a ‘developed’sea levels country as against those who live in aand flood all low-lying areas, ‘developing’ country is extremely large.submerging coastal Similarly, the disparity between the richagriculture as well as towns and cities. and the poor in India is alsoWater growing. The increasing pressures on‘famines’ due to the depletion of fresh resources place great demands on the in-water, built buffering action of nature that has awill create unrest and eventually make certain ability to maintain a balance incountries go to war. The control over our environment. However, currentregional biological diversity, which is development strategies that essentiallyvital for producing new lead to short-term gains have led to amedicinal and industrial products, will breakdown of our Earth’s ability tolead to grave economic conflicts replenish the resources onbetween biotechnologically advanced which we depend.
  • 2. Global population growth Though population growth shows aThe world population is growing by general global decline, there aremore than variations in the rate of decline in90 million per year, of which 93% is in different countries. By the 1990s thedeveloping countries. This will growth rate was decreasing in mostessentially prevent their countries such as China and India. Thefurther economic ‘development’. In the decline in the 90s was greatest in India.past, However, fertility continues to remainpopulation growth was a gradual high in sub Saharan African countries.phenomenonand the Earth’s ability to replenish There are cultural, economic, politicalresources was and demographic reasons that explaincapable of adjusting to this increase. In the differences in the rate of populationthe recent past, the escalation in growth control in different countries. It alsoof human varies in different parts of certainnumbers has become a major cause of countries and is linked with communityour environmental problems. and/or religious thinking. Lack ofPresent projections show that if our Government initiatives for Familypopulation Welfare Program and a limited access togrowth is controlled, it will still grow to a full range of contraceptive7.27 measures are serious impediments tobillion by 2015. However, if no action is limitingpopulation growth in severaltaken it countries.will become a staggering 7.92 billion.Human population growth increased ENVIRONMENT AND HUMANfrom: HEALTH1 to 2 billion, in 123 years.2 to 3 billion, in 33 years. Environment related issues that affect3 to 4 billion, in 14 years. our health4 to 5 billion, in 13 years. have been one of the most important5 to 6 billion, in 11 years. triggers that have led to creating an increasingIt is not the census figures alone that awareness of the need for betterneed to be stressed, but an appreciation environmental management. Changes inof the impact on natural resources of the our environment inducedrapid escalation in the rate of increase of by human activities in nearly everyhuman population in the recent past. The sphere of lifeextent of this depletion is further have had an influence on the pattern ofincreased by affluent societies that ourconsume per capita more energy and health. The assumption that humanresources, that less fortunate people. progress isThis is of great relevance for through economic growth is notdeveloping a new ethic for a more necessarily true.equitable distribution of resources.
  • 3. We expect urbanization and A better health status of society willindustrialization to bring about Environmental health, asbring in prosperity, but on the down defined byside, it leads WHO, compr i ses those aspec t s ofto diseases related to overcrowding and humanan inadequate quality of drinking water, health, including quality of life, that areresulting in determined by physical, chemical,an increase in waterborne diseases such biological, social,as infective diarrhoea and air borne and psychosocial factors in thebacterial diseases environment.such as tuberculosis. High-density city It also refers to the theory and practice oftraffic assessing, correcting, controlling, andleads to an increase in respiratory preventingdiseases like those factors in the environment thatasthma. Agricultural pesticides that adverselyenhanced affect the health of present and futurefood supplies during the green generations.revolution have Our environment affects health in aaffected both the farm worker and all of variety ofus who ways. Climate and weather affect humanconsume the produce. Modern medicine health.promised to solve many health problems, Public health depends on sufficientespecially amounts ofassociated with infectious diseases good quality food, safe drinking water,through antibiotics, but bacteria found and adequate shelter. Natural disastersways to develop resistant strains, such as storms,frequently even changing their hurricanes, and floods still kill manybehaviour in the process, making it people every year. Unprecedentednecessary rainfall trigger epidemics of malaria andto keep on creating newer antibiotics. water borne diseases.Many Global climate change has serious healthdrugs have been found to have serious implications. Many countries will haveside effects. At times the cure is as to adapt todamaging as the uncertain climatic conditions due todisease process itself. globalThus development has created several warming. As our climate is changing, welong-term mayhealth problems. While better health care no longer know what to expect. Therehas are increasing storms in some countries,led to longer life spans, coupled with a drought inlowered others, and a temperature rise throughoutinfant mortality, it has also led to an theunprecedented growth in our population world.which hasnegative implications on environmentalquality.
  • 4. Development strategies that do not • Millions of people, mainly children,incorporate ecological safeguards often have poor health due to parasiticlead to ill health. infections, such as amoebiasis andIndustrial development without pollution worms. This occurs from eating infectedcontrol and traffic congestion affect the food, or using poor quality water forlevel of air pollution in many cities. On cooking food. It is estimated thatthe other hand, development strategies 36% of children in low-income countriesthat can promote health invariably also and 12% in middle income countries areprotect the environment. Thus malnourished. In India, about half theenvironmental health and human health children under the age of four areare closely interlinked. An improvement malnourished and 30% of newborns arein health is central to sound significantly underweight.environmental management. • Hundreds of millions of people sufferHowever this is rarely given sufficient serious respiratory diseases, includingimportance in planning development lung cancer and tuberculosis, fromstrategies. crowded homes and public places. MotorExamples of the linkages: vehicle exhaust fumes, industrial fumes, tobacco smoke and cooking food on• Millions of children die every year due improper ‘chulas’, contribute toto diarrhoea from contaminated water or respiratory An estimated 2000 million people • Millions of people are exposed toare affected by these diseases and more hazardous chemicals in their workplacethan 3 million children die each year or homes that lead to ill health due tofrom waterborne diseases across the industrial products where controls areworld. In India, it is estimated that every not adhered to.fifth child under the age of 5 dies due to • Tens of thousands of people in thediarrhoea. This is a result of inadequate world die due to traffic accidents due toenvironmental management and is inadequate management of trafficmainly due to inadequate purification of conditions.drinking water. Wastewater and/or Poor management at the accident site,sewage entering water sources without and inability to reach a hospital withinbeing treated leads to continuous an hour causes a large number of deaths,gastrointestinal diseases in the especially from head and even sporadic large • Basic environmental needs such asepidemics. Large numbers of people in clean water, clean air and adequatetropical countries die of malaria every nutrition which are all related toyear and millions are infected. environmental goods and services do notAn inadequate environmental reach over 1000 million people living inmanagement of stagnant water, which abject poverty.forms breeding sites of Anopheles • Several million people live inmosquitoes is the most important factor inadequate shelters or have no roof overin the spread of malaria. their heads especially in urban settings.The resurgence of malaria in India is This is related to high inequalities in theleading to cerebral malaria that affects distribution of wealth and living space.the brain and has a high mortality. • Population growth and the way resources are being exploited and
  • 5. wasted, threatens environmental do not use or release toxic chemicals thatintegrity and directly affects affect the health of workers and peoplehealth of nearly every individual. living in the vicinity of industries can• Health is an outcome of the improveinteractions between people and their health and environment.environment. • There is a need to change from usingBetter health can only come from a more conventional energy from thermal powersustainable management of the thatenvironment. pollutes air and nuclear power that canImportant strategic concerns cause serious nuclear disasters to cleaner• The world must address people’s and safer sources such as solar, wind andhealth care ocean power, that do not affect humanneeds and sustainable use of natural health. Providing clean energy is anresources, which are closely linked to important factor that can lead to bettereach health.other. The key factors are to control human• Strategies to provide cl population and consume lessean pottable environmentalwater and nutrition to all people is an goods and services which could lead toimportant part of a healthy living ‘health for all’. Unsustainable use ofenvironment. resources by an ever growing population• Providing clean energy sources that do leadsnot to unhealthy lives. Activities that go onaffect health is a key to reducing wasting environmental goods andrespiratory diseases. destroying its services by producing• Reducing environmental consequences large quantities of non degradableof wastes, leads toindustrial and other pollutants such as health hazards.transport emissions can improve the • Poverty is closely related to health andstatus of ishealth. itself a consequence of improper• Changing patterns of agriculture away environmental management. Anfrom inequitable sharing of natural resourcesharmful pesticides, herbicides and and environmentalinsecticides which are injurious to the goods and services, is linked to poorhealth of and consumers by using The world’s consumption of non-alternatives renewable resources is concentrated insuch as Integrated Pest Management and the developed countries. Rich countriesnon-toxic biopesticides can improve consume 50 times more perhealth capita than people in less developedof agricultural communities, as well as This means that developed countries alsoconsumers. generate proportionately high quantities• Changing industrial systems into those of waste material, which has seriousthat health concerns.
  • 6. Definition of Health Impact Assessment diseases are more vulnerable. Heat(HIA) by WHO: Health impact waves in India in 1998 were associatedassessment is a combination of with many deaths.procedures, methods and tools Climate plays an important role inby which a policy, program or project vector-borne diseases transmitted bymay be judged as to its potential effects insects such as mosquitoes. Theseon the health of a population, and the disease transmitters are sensitive todistribution of those effects within the direct effects of climate such aspopulation. temperature,rainfall patterns and wind.Climate and health Climate affects their distribution andHuman civilizations have adapted abundance through its effectsmankind to live in a wide variety of on host plants and animals.climates. From the hot tropics to the cold Malaria transmission is particularlyarctic, in deserts, marshlands sensitive to weather and climate.and in the high mountains. Both climate Unusual weather conditions, for exampleand weather have a powerful impact on a heavy downpour, can greatly increasehuman life and health issues. the mosquito population and trigger anNatural disasters created by extremes of epidemic. In the desert and at highlandweather (heavy rains, floods, hurricanes) fringes of malarious areas, malariawhich occur over a short period of time, transmission is unstable and the humancan severely affect health population lacks inherent protectiveof a community. Poor people are more immunity. Thus, when weathervulnerable to the health impacts of conditions (rainfall and temperature)climate variability than the rich. Of favour transmission, serious epidemicsapproximately 80,000 deaths occur in such areas.which occur world-wide each year as aresult of natural disasters about 95% are HUMAN RIGHTSin poor countries. In weather-triggered Several environmental issues are closelydisasters hundreds of people and animals linked to human rights. These includedie, homes are destroyed,crops and other the equitable distribution ofresources are lost. Public health environmental resources, theinfrastructure, such as sewage disposal utilisation of resources and Intellectualsystems,waste management, hospitals Property Rights (IPRs), conflictsand roads are damaged. The cyclone in between people and wildlife especiallyOrissa in 1999 caused 10,000 deaths. around PAs, resettlement issuesThe total number of people affected was around development projects such asestimated at 10 to 15 million! dams and mines, and access to health toHuman physiology can adapt to changes prevent environment related weather, within certain limits.However, marked short-term Equityfluctuations in weather lead to serious One of the primary concerns inhealth issues. Heat waves cause heat- environmental issues is how wealth,related illness and death (e.g. heat resources and energy must be distributedstroke). The elderly and persons with in a community. We can think ofexisting heart or respiratory the global community, regional community issues, national concerns and
  • 7. those related to a family or at the in the amount of resources available toindividual level. While economic different sectors of society. People whodisparities remain a fact of life, we as live in wilderness communities arecitizens of a community must appreciate referred to as ecosystemthat a widening gap between the rich and people. They collect food, fuelwood, andthe poor, between men and women, or nonwood products, fish in aquaticbetween the present and future ecosystems, orgenerations must be minimised if social hunt for food in forests and grasslands.justice is to be achieved. Today the Whendifference between the economically landuse patterns change from naturaldeveloped world and the developing ecosystems to more intensively usedcountries is unacceptably high. farmland andThe access to a better lifestyle for men pastureland the rights of theseas against women is inherent in many indigenouscultures. Last but not the least, we in the people are usually sacrificed. Take thepresent generation cannot greedily use case ofup all our resources leaving future subsidies given to the pulp and papergenerations increasingly impoverished. industryRights to land, water, food, housing are for bamboo whi ch makes i t severalall a part of our environment that we all t imesshare. However, while some live cheaper for the industry than for a ruralunsustainable lifestyles with individual who uses it to build his home.consumption patterns that the resource This infringes on the human right tobase cannot support, many others live collect resourceswell below the poverty line. Even in a they have traditionally used free of cost.developing country such as ours, there Another issue is the rights of smallare enormous economic inequalities. traditional fishermen who have toThis requires an ethic in which an contend against mechanisedequitable trawlers that impoverish their catch anddistribution becomes a part of overharvest fish in the marineeveryone’s thinking. The people who environment. Theselive in the countries of the people’s right to a livelihood conflictsNorth and the rich from the countries in with thethe South will have to take steps to powerful economic interests of large-reduce their resource use and the waste scalethey generate. Both the better off sectors organised fisheries.of society and the less fortunate need to There are serious conflicts between thedevelop their own strategies of rightssustainable living and communities at of rural communities for even basiceach level must bring about more resourcesequitable patterns of wealth. such as water, and industrialThe right to the use of natural resources development whichthat requires large amounts of water forthe environment holds is an essential sustainingcomponent of human rights. It is related its productivity. The right to land orto disparities common
  • 8. property resources of tribal people is is needed to appreciate and supportinfringed millions of people left behind in the 20thupon by large development projects such century’s health dams, mining and Protected Areas. We mu s t e n s u r e t h a t o u r e nMovements to protect the rights of v i r o nme n t a l values and our visionindigenous peoples are growing are linked to human rights and createworldwide. Reversing actions that have laws to support those that need aalready been taken decades ago is a better environment, better health and acomplex problem that has no simple better In many cases a just tradeoff isat best achieved through careful and Health and sustainable humansensitively managed negotiations. development are equity issues. In ourThis needs a deep appreciation of local globalized 21st century,equity mustenvironmental concerns as well as a begin at the bottom, hand in handsensitivity to the rights of local people. with a healthy environment, improved nutrition,and sustainable lifestyles.Nutrition, health and human right Putting first things first,we must also realize that resources allocated toThere are links between environment, preventing and eliminating disease willnutrition and health which must be seen be effective only if the underlying causesfrom a humanrights perspective. Proper such as malnutrition and environmentalnutrition and health are fundamental concerns, as well as their consequences,human rights. The right to life are successfully a Fundamental Right in ourconstitution. As a deteriorating Intellectual Property Rights andenvironment shortens life spans, Community Biodiversity Registerthis in effect has an impact on ourfundamental constitutional right. Traditional people, especially tribalsNutrition affects and defines the health living in forests, have used local plantsstatus of all people, rich and poor. It is and animals for generations. Thislinked to the way we grow, develop, storehouse of knowledge leads towork, play, resist infection and reach our many new ‘discoveries’ for modernaspirations as individuals, communities pharmaceutical products. The revenueand societies. Malnutrition makes generated from such ‘finds’ goes to thepeople more vulnerable to disease and pharmaceutical industry that has donepremature death. Poverty is a major the research and patented the product.cause as well as a consequence of ill- This leaves the original tribal user withhealth. Poverty, hunger, malnutrition and nothing while the industry could earnpoorly managed environments together billions of rupees. To protect the rightsaffect health and weaken the of indigenous people who have usedsocioeconomic development of a these products, a possible tool is tocountry. Nearly 30% of humanity, create a Community Biodiversityespecially those in developing countries Register of local products and their uses– infants, children, adolescents, so that its exploitation by theadults, and older persons are affected by pharmaceutical industry would have tothis problem. A human rights approach pay a royalty to the local community.
  • 9. This however has still not been generally In addition to patient safety issues, thereaccepted. Mechanisms have to be is the risk that a growing herbal marketworked out so that the local traditional and its great commercial benefit poses ausers rights are protected. threat to biodiversity through the overTraditional Medicine: Traditional harvesting of the raw material for herbalmedicine refers to health practices, medicines and other natural health careapproaches, knowledge and beliefs that products. This has been observed in theincorporate plant, animal and mineral case of several Himalayan plants. Ifbased medicines, frequently of local or extraction from the wild is notregional origin. It may be linked to controlled, this can lead to the extinctionspiritual therapies, manual techniques of endangered plant species and theand exercises. destruction of natural habitats of severalThese may be used singly or in species.combination to treat, diagnose and Another related issue is that at present,prevent illnesses or maintain well-being. the requirements for protection providedTraditional medicine is often under international standards for patenthanded down through the generations or law and by most national conventionalmay be known to a special caste or tribal patent laws are inadequate to protectgroup. traditional knowledge and biodiversity.Traditional medicine has maintained its There are tried and tested scientificpopularity in all regions of the methods and products that have theirdeveloping world and origins in different traditional medicinalits use is rapidly spreading in methods. Twenty-five percentindustrialized countries. In India, some of modern medicines are made fromof our primary health care plants firstneeds are taken care of entirely by used traditionally. Yoga is known totraditional medicine, while in Africa, up reduce asthma attacks. Traditionalto 80% of the population uses it for Medicine has been found to be effectiveprimary health care. In industrialized against several infectious diseases.countries, adaptations of traditional to our destruction of our environment.medicine are termed “Complementary“ The problems that are created byor “Alternative” Medicine (CAM). technology and economic growth are aWhile there are advantages to traditional result of our improper thinking on whatmedicine as it is cheap and locally ‘development’ means. Since we still putavailable, there are diseases which it a high value only on economiccannot treat effectively. growth, we have no concern for aspectsThis is a risk, as patients who use these such as sustainability or equitable use ofalternative medicinal practices may rely resources.on an ineffective measure. The This mindset must change beforeconsequences could be a serious delay in concepts such as sustainablediagnosis and effective treatment of a development can be acted upon.treatable condition. There is a need Unsustainable development is a part ofto carefully research the claims of economic growth of the powerful whiletraditional practices to ensure that they it makes the poor poorer. Consumerismare effective. is one aspect of this process favoured by the rich. As consumption of resources
  • 10. has till recently been an index of countries lack access to essentialdevelopment, consumerism has thrived. allopathic medicines. The provision ofIt is only recently that the world has safe and effective TM/come to realize that there are other more CAM therapies could become a tool toimportant environmental values that are increase access to health care.essential to bring about a better way oflife. VALUE EDUCATIONValues in environment education must Value education in the context of ourbring in several new concepts. Why and environment is expected to bring about ahow can we use less resources and new sustainable way of life. Educationenergy? Why do we need to keep our both through formal and non-formalsurroundings clean? Why should processes must thus addresswe use less fertilisers and pesticides in understanding environmental values,farms? valuing nature and cultures, socialWhy is it important for us to save water justice, human heritage,equitable use ofand keep our water sources clean? Or resources, managing common propertyseparate our garbage into degradable and resources and appreciating the causenon-degradable types before disposal? of ecological degradation.All these issues are linked to the quality Essentially, environmental values cannotof human life and go beyond simple be taught. They are inculcated through aeconomic growth. They deal with a love complex process of appreciating ourand respect for nature. These are the environmental assets and experiencingvalues that will bring about a better the problems caused due to ourhumanity, one in which we can live destruction of our environment. Thehealthy, productive and happy lives problems that are created by technologyin harmony with nature. and economic growth are a result of ourWhat are values? improperValues deal with ones own principles thinking on what ‘development’ means.and standards from which we judge what Sinceis right and wrong behaviour. we still put a high value only on economicCASE STUDY growth, we have no concern for aspectsA US company was granted a patent for suchdiscovering extracts of arhar (pigeon pea as sustainability or equitable use ofor Cajanus cajan) in the treatment of resources.diabetes,hypoglycemia, obesity and This mindset must change beforeblockage of arteries. The use of pigeon concepts suchpea extracts in India is well known. as sustainable development can be actedCSIR has challenged this patent as it upon.infringes on India’s traditional Unsustainable development is a part ofknowledge, although challenging the economic growth of the powerful whilepatent is difficult, as India’s scientific it makesdocumentation of its traditional the poor poorer. Consumerism is oneknowledge is quite poor. aspect ofOver one-third of the population indeveloping
  • 11. this process favoured by the rich. As historical monument or place of worship.consumption of resources has till Theserecently been an index are all part of human heritage.of development, consumerism has Heritage preservation is now a growingthrived. It is only recently that the world environmental concern because much ofhas come to realisethat there are other this heritage has been undervaluedmore important environmental values during the lastthat are essential to bring about several decades and is vanishing at ana better way of life. astonishing pace. While we admire andValues in environment education must value the Ajantabring inseveral new concepts. Why and and Ellora Caves, the temples of the 10thhow can weuse less resources and toenergy? Why do we needto keep our 15th centuries that led to different andsurroundings clean? Why should diversewe use less fertilisers and pesticides in styles of architecture and sculpture, thefarms? MoghulWhy is it important for us to save water styles that led to structures such as theandkeep our water sources clean? Or Tajseparate our garbage into degradable and Mahal, or the unique environmentally-non-degradable types before disposal? friendlyAll these issues are linked to the quality Colonial buildings, we have done littleof human life and go beyond simple to actively preserve them. Aseconomic growth. They deal with a love environmentally conscious individualsand respect for nature. These are the we need to lobby for thevalues that will bring about a better protection of the wilderness and ourhumanity, one in which we can live glorioushealthy, productive and happy lives architectural harmony with nature. 7.5.6 Equitable use of resourcesWhat are values? An unfair distribution of wealth andValues deal with ones own principles resources,and standards from which we judge what based on a world that is essentially onlyis right and wrong behaviour. for the rich, will bring about a disaster ofHuman heritage unprecedented proportions. Equitable use of resourcesThe earth itself is a heritage left to us by is nowour seen as an essential aspect of humanancestors for not only our own use but well being and must become a sharedfor the point of viewgenerations to come. There is much that among all socially and environmentallyis beautiful on our Earth - the consciousundisturbed wilderness, individuals. This includes ana traditional rural landscape, the appreciation of thearchitecture of fact that economically advanceda traditional village or town, and the countries andvalue of a
  • 12. the rich in even poor nations consume use as a community. The water thatresources nature recycles, the air that we allat much greater levels than the much breathe, the forestslarger and grasslands which maintain ourpoorer sectors of humanity in the climate anddeveloping soil, are all common property In spite of the great number of Whenpeople in Government took over the control ofthe more populous developing countries, community forests in British times, thethe local people whosmaller number of people in developed until then had controlled their usecountries use more resources and energy through athan those set of norms that were based onin the developing world. This is equally equitable use,true of began to overexploit resources on whichthe small number of rich people in poor theycountries whose per capita use of energy now had no personal stake. Bringingand resources, and the generation of back suchwaste based on traditional management systems isthe one time use of disposable products, extremelyleads difficult. However, in the recent pastto great pressures on the environment. managingThe poor local forests through village level forestwhile polluting the environment have no protection committees has shown that ifway people knowto prevent it. The rich damage the that they can benefit from the forests,environment they willthrough a carelessness that proves only begin to protect them. This essentiallythat they meanshave no appreciation for environmental sharing the power to control forestssafety. betweenAs we begin to appreciate that we need the Forest Department and local people.more 7.5.8 Ecological degradationsustainable lifestyles we also begin to In many situations valuable ecologicalrealize that assets arethis cannot be brought about without a turned into serious environmentalmore problems. Thisequitable use of resources. is because we as a society do not7.5.7 Common Property Resources strongly resist forces that bring aboutOur environment has a major component ecological degradation.that These consist of sectors of society thatdoes not belong to individuals. There are use aseveral commonly owned resources that ‘get-rich-quick’ approach toall of us development. While ecological degradation has frequently been
  • 13. blamed on the needs of fuelwood and closely linked to the welfare of womenfodder and children. Each year, close to elevenof growing numbers of rural people, the million children worldwide are estimatedrich, to have died from the effects of diseaseurbanized, industrial sector is and inadequate nutrition. Most of theseresponsible for deaths are in the developing world. Ingreater ecological damage. Changes in some countries, more than one in fivelanduse children die before they are 5 years old.from natural ecosystems to more Seven out of 10 of childhood deaths inintensive utilization such as turning developing countries canforests into monoculture be attributed to five main causes, or aforestry plantations, or tea and coffee combination of them. These areestates, pneumonia, diarrhoea, measles, malariaor marginal lands into intensive and malnutrition. Around the world,agricultural patterns such as sugarcane three out of every four children sufferfields or changes into from at least one of these conditions.urban or industrial land carry anecological price. The diagnosis of common childhoodWetlands, for example, provide usable disease conditionsresources Presenting complaint Possible cause or associated conditionand a variety of services not easily Cough and/or Pneumoniavalued in economic terms, and when fast breathing Severe anaemiadestroyed to provide P. falciparum malaria Lethargy or Cerebral malariaadditional farmland, in many cases unconsciousness Meningitisproduce Severe dehydrationlower returns. A natural forest provides Very severe pneumonia Measles rash Pneumoniavaluable non-wood forest products Diarrhoeawhose economic Ear infectionreturns far outweigh that provided by “Very sick” young infant Pneumonia Meningitisfelling the Sepsisforest for timber. These values mustform a part ROLE OF INFORMATIONof a new conservation ethic. We cannot TECHNOLOGYpermit IN ENVIRONMENT AND HUMANunsustainable development to run HEALTHonwards at The understanding of environmentala pace in which our lives will be concerns and issues related to humanovertaken by a health has explodedduring the last fewdevelopment strategy that must years due to the sudden growth ofeventually fail Information Technology. The computeras Earth’s resources are consumed and age has turned the world around due toecosystems rendered irreparable. the incredible rapidity with which IT spreads knowledge. IT can do severalWOMAN AND CHILD WELFARE tasks extremely rapidly, accurately andThere are several environmental factors spread the information through thethat are
  • 14. world’s networks of millions of omputer increasingly efficient. They will besystems. A few examples of the use of faster, have greater memories and evencomputer technology that aid perhaps begin to think for themselves.environmental studies include softwaresuch as using Geographical InformationSystems (GIS). GIS is a tool to maplanduse patterns and document changeby studying digitized toposheets and/orsatellite imagery. Once this is done, anexpert can ask a variety of questionswhich the software can answer byproducing maps which helps inlanduse planning.CASE STUDYKarnataka’s GIS scheme, Bhoomi,has revolutionized the way farmersaccess their land records. Farmers cannow get a copy of the records ofrights, tenancy and crops from acomputerized information kioskwithout harassment and bribes.Karnataka has computerized 20million records of land ownershipof 6.7 million farmers in the State.The Internet with its thousands ofwebsites has made it extremely simple toget the appropriate environmentalinformation for any study orenvironmental management planning.This not only assists scientists andstudents but is a powerful tool to helpincrease public awareness aboutenvironmental issues.Specialisedsoftware can analyse data forepidemiological studies, populationdynamics and a variety of keyenvironmental concerns.The relationshipbetween the environment and health hasbeen established due to the growingutilisation of computer technology. Thislooks at infection rates, morbidity ormortality and the etiology (causativefactors) of a disease. As knowledgeexpands, computers will become