[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?
World Water Day is an annual event that takes place on 22nd March. It is a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater, as well as emphasising the need for sustainable management of global water resources. Each year, World Water Day highlights a different aspect of freshwater, and the theme chosen for 2017, is “wastewater”, in support of Sustainable Development Goal 6.3, to improve water quality and reduce, treat and reuse wastewater. This article, written by CABI’s Global Health and Environmental Science Editors, Wendie Norris and Stephanie Cole, examines the importance of wastewater treatment in terms of resource recovery and environmental preservation, as well as its role in protecting human health.
One of a series of blogs written by CABI editors for One Health (#OneHealth) Day on November 3rd 2016
"It is difficult to rate the importance of the different soil functions, since all are vital to our well-being to some extent. However, the function of supporting food and agriculture worldwide is fundamental for the preservation and advancement of human life on this planet." – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States (FAO).
The multiple roles of soil often go unnoticed. During time spent carrying out research for this blog I came across the following quote which I feel really captures the relevance of soil health for the One Health concept:
‘The health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible’.
This was actually said seven decades ago by Lady Eva Balfour, one of the first women to study agriculture at an English University, who went on to found the Soil Association in 1946. Yet it seems that on many levels we are still to realise the connectedness between health in soils, plants, animals and people.
Insecticides can be beneficial to humans in many ways, such as providing crop protection from disease and defoliation and as a tool used in the reduction of mosquitoes and other insects that can transmit diseases such as malaria, to humans. However, once they enter an aquatic system, the environmental costs can be very high. Just how much of a threat these chemicals pose to aquatic biodiversity has been the focus of a recent study, highlighting regions most at risk.
Less than 1% of surface water is useable water in rivers,
lakes and ponds; less than 3% is in glaciers and polar ice caps, which means
around 97% of the world’s water is in the sea, is salty and unusable. Over 65% of the cells in our bodies is
water, which means we just cannot live without water; no wonder
water is such a precious resource. In fact, the UN estimated
that by 2025, 50% of the world will be facing a water crisis. Yet many of us seem
to take water availability for granted and waste vast amounts of it while we go
about our daily lives, or do we really take water for granted?