[Image credit: minthu]
Over the last 200 years, the global population has been growing at an exponential rate and according to the UN, is predicted to reach 8.5 billion by 2030. The population increase to date, has been supported by the development of agricultural, industrial and health care resources, which has led to the rise in the production and use of a variety of different chemicals. In recent years, many of the substances, either used in or created by these industries have been named as “emerging contaminants” (EC’s). Until very recently, the main focus of the impacts that chemicals cause in the environment was mainly attributed to heavy metals, active ingredients traditionally used in pesticides and persistent organic pollutants. However, concern has been growing over the environmental and health risks of EC’s. Many EC’s are considered to be water pollutants, yet they remain largely unregulated by current water-quality standards. So what are these chemicals and why are they a problem?
First held in 1974, World Environment Day (WED) is considered to be the largest global event for positive environmental action, with participation from over 143 countries. It takes place on 5th June each year and is a flagship campaign for driving change and raising awareness on emerging environmental issues, from climate change and wildlife crime, to resource consumption and marine pollution. This year's host country is Canada and the chosen theme is 'Connecting People to Nature – in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator' which encourages us to consider our role within nature and how closely we depend on it.
Pastoralists, Mongolia. Image courtesy of Esther Schelling, Swiss TPH.
One of a series of blogs written by CABI editors for One Health Day on November 3rd 2016
It's always nice to meet up with a CABI author at a conference especially when they are giving a talk around a theme dear to CABI‘s heart, namely “One Health”: the concept of working across the interface of animal, plant, human and environment to achieve health & development which is sustainable and fair. CABI has been gathering, managing and generating research information across all these sectors since 1912. We know “its all connected”.
The conference was the RSTMH biennial meeting [Cambridge UK, Sept 12-16th, 2016], and the author in question, Esther Schelling, co-editor of CABI’s book One Health: The Theory and Practice of Integrated Health Approaches . To read a free e-chapter, use this link.
In One Health beyond early detection and control of zoonoses Esther talked about her long-time project with nomadic pastoralists in Chad and a rift valley fever (RVF) control project in Kenya. She drew attention to the need for:
- more interdisciplinary studies to include an evaluation of One Health working
- involvement of social scientists
- engagement of key stakeholders
And tellingly she provided a cost-benefit analysis to society of controlling zoonoses when the disease is in its animal host before it infects human beings.
Those cost-benefit analyses made a deep impression on the delegates, many of whom were involved in zoonotic neglected tropical diseases. Perhaps for the first time they were appreciating the added benefits and synergies that a transdisciplinary approach between science, society, humanities and medicine could bring.