There’s a cluster of unknown yet meaningful awareness days coming up at the end of May and beginning of June. These days aim to raise awareness of some very important issues that society is facing currently and in the future.
Before you get too excited, I’m going to have to tell you that no, you probably won’t get these days off from work.
Of all of them, these three are what I want to focus on throughout the blog. Not individually, but what it means as a whole when intertwined together:
- World No Tobacco Day (31 May): Annual campaign by the World Health Organization to raise awareness on the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, and to discourage the use of tobacco in any form.
- Children’s Day (1 June): Started by India, this day celebrates the joy that children bring to life and aims to increase awareness of the rights, care and education of children. As if children needed another day dedicated to them right? Aren’t they the centre of focus by all parents literally all the time? Why can’t we have an Adult Day?
- World Environment Day (5 June): This is the United Nation’s principle medium for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment.
There’s a reason why these awareness days are all cramped within a week. Initially, I thought it was because they wanted to get them all over with in one go and then move on to the bigger and better holidays where we can eat and drink our faces off.
Because my first instincts are usually wrong, I did some research. The actual reason is because it’s easier and more sensible to bring awareness to serious issues through a week long exposure of various health and environment related topics.
In 2015, 5.9 million children under 5 years old died. About a quarter of them due to environmental factors.
Here are some other hard cold facts. Worldwide,
- 12% of children over 5 report having asthma problems
- Every year, around 600K children under 5 die from respiratory diseases such as pneumonia
- Ever year nearly 360K children under 5 die from diarrhea
- More than 300K children under 5 die from malaria each year
- Toxic materials such as lead and pesticides cause illness and death in children each year
A lot of these statistic have common causes between them. Tobacco, second hand smoke, and pollution.
Pollution comes from five main human sources. These sources spew out a range of substances including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxide, ground-level ozone, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, hydrocarbons, and lead–all of which are harmful to human health.
Household pollution is the indoor burning of fossil fuels, wood and other biomass-based fuels to cook, heat and light homes. 3.8 million premature deaths are caused by indoor air pollution each year. Energy production is a leading source of air pollution. Coal-burning power plants, diesel generators, and industrial chemical usage are just a few examples. Transport sectors worldwide accounts for a quarter of carbon dioxide emissions. 400K premature deaths are caused by emissions. Agriculture pollution produces methane and ammonia, along with the burning of agricultural waste. These could cause asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Waste burning are a big contributor to releasing harmful dioxins, methane, and black carbon into the atmosphere. Approximately 40% of waste is openly burned globally.
What can we do about it?
- Access to cleaner burning fuels. This can reduce illnesses and save lives
- Raise policies and programs on renewable energy sources
- Implement policies and standards on cleaner fuel and move towards electrical and green vehicles
- Move to a plant based diet and reduce food waste. Improve grazing and grassland management
- Improve collection, separation, and disposal of waste through raising awareness at local level
Nobody is safe from pollution. However, we can surely do something about to increase awareness and decrease the number affected by it.
TOBACCO AND SECOND HAND SMOKE
Tobacco causes lung cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, tuberculosis, and air pollution. Globally, an estimated 165 000 children die before the age of 5 of lower respiratory infections caused by second-hand smoke. Those who live on into adulthood continue to suffer the health consequences of second-hand smoke exposure, as frequent lower respiratory infections in early childhood significantly increase risk of developing chronic respiratory diseases.
So how do we counter this big epidemic? Here are a few solutions below.
Higher taxes for tobacco production companies along with a total ban on tobacco marketing. Essentially, cut the snake head off, and the body will die.
Pediatricians should play a big role in education parents, promoting policies, working with school boards and the government on the dangers and negative effects of smoking. They are the ones that know about children’s health the best, sometimes even better than their own parents. Their voice will pose a heavy weight through whatever medium the message would go through.
Aromatherapy is not a miracle cure that will magically eliminate all of your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. But... sensibly using essential oils, may play an especially helpful role in your effort to quit smoking. Instead of intaking tobacco, set your surrounding with healthy solutions such as aromatherapy.
In fact, there’s even a tobacco aroma essential oil out there for those missing the smell of it! In addition, these are the types of essential oil that will curb your craving for the next cigarette.
So if you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for the kids! As troublesome as they come, they are being shaped by the policies and actions of today’s leaders and it’s only fair that we set them up for success.
Environment and children’s health. Improve one and the other will be improved.
The good thing is, after reading this blog, at least half the world should be more aware of these significant issues affecting our future and environment. Okay, who am I kidding, I’m not that popular yet. Realistically, I’d say around a quarter of the world.