An impact on the lives of people. There is need to maintain a balance between people and their environment as unfavourable shifts may result undesired results. Some components of the environment includes air water, people and plants amongst others.
Poor sanitary conditions may lead to higher incidence of conditions like cholera, typhoid fever, trachoma, intestinal worms, Hepatitis A, ringworm, amongst other diseases. For instance, inadequate methods of waste management, like open refuse dumping, indiscriminate sewage disposal, random defecation may lead to contamination of the source of water to the area causing diarrhoeal diseases which may in turn result in malnutrition and stunting in children. It is therefore safe to say that poor environmental sanitation can have far reaching consequences beyond the people who live within the environment as infections can be transmitted from person to person.
There are measures that could be taken to improve the sanitary conditions of the environment. Some of these include :-
Proper waste management. Household or industrial waste should be effectively disposed and treated in ways that do not pose harm to individuals in the community. Open dumping of refuse and indiscriminate defecation should be discouraged. Waste bins should be adequately ddistributed. Provision of more toilet facilities built with sanitary standards in place.
Protection of waterways and water bodies to prevent contamination.
Clearing of stagnant water, especially those around homes , as they may serve as breeding sites for vectors that cause disease, for example, mosquitoes which transmit malaria.
Clearing of bushes around homes to prevent habitation of animals that may cause harm to people, for example, snakes, rats amongst others.
Educating the people on the importance of keeping their surroundings clean.
Hand washing should be practiced as a routine to help prevent infections that could be picked up from the environment.
Intersectoral collaboration in handling issues about the environment cannot be over emphasized as this is ver essential in achieving long lasting success.
Maintaining a healthy environment requires the joint effort of individuals, communities and the government. “ Charity they say begins at home!” First people must take the responsibility of keeping their environment clean and safe. They must do so themselves and encourage others to do so too. We must realise that our environment is what we make of it. As members of the community, working together to create an environment that is habitable and healthy should be a major goal. There should be good planning on how the waste can be effectively managed in a community. Making and implementing policies on environmental health that will improve sanitation should be prioritised as this could lead to remarkable decline in those conditions related to poor environmental sanitation. Challenges that hinder the efficient practice of environmental sanitation, when identified, should be rectified. This is important because when the people are healthy there is increased productivity which invariably leads to economic growth and development.
The sustainable development goals by the United Nations highlights shared international goals of which clean water and sanitation are targeted on goal six (6). Also, goal thirteen(13) which focuses on climate action relates to the environment as some effects of climate change on the environment like flooding could also lead to the infection of water bodies, thus affecting health. Sustainable development goals 14 and 15 are about life below water and life on land will also be negatively impacted by poor sanitary conditions.
Everyone has a role to play in ensuring that the environment is as safe as possible for people to attain the highest levels of health.