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Principles of Environment Health


Discuss about the Principles of Environment Health.



The essay is an outcome of growing concern related to overpopulation and depletion of natural resources followed by climate change. Overpopulation is the condition where the carrying capacity of the earth is diminished and exceeds by existing human population. In the history, the birth and death rate was well balanced and the population growth rate was sustainable. Advancement in technology has improved humanity in various ways. The factor contributing overpopulation includes better medical facilities, decline in poverty, enhanced fertility treatment, high rate of immigration, poor family planning, decline in mortality rate and depletion of precious resources. Overpopulation is significantly affecting the environment and the climate by overconsumption of natural resources. It includes increased depletion of natural resources, rise of conflicts and wars, destruction of environment, high level of unemployment and high cost of living. The environment in which we live influences our health through various channels (Lawson et al., 2015). “Australian Government Treasury 2010", recognized climate change as the largest threat to the environment and is a primary concern for Australia (Australian Public Service Commission, 2012). It is considered unsustainable. Plenty and diversity of literature are available regarding health and environment. It observed that the crisis of overpopulation is more in developing nations when compared to developed nation. It indicates that environment is the major health determinant. Stephen Mosher, “President of the Population Research Institute," told to "” that with twenty-two million people in Australia, the dominant carnivore in many parts of the country is not the man, but the dingo (Tranter & Lester, 2015). 

The essay will discuss the problems and issues related to overpopulation and its effect on the future sustainability. Further, the essay will highlight the positive and negative aspect of China's one-child policy and discuss if it is beneficial to be enforced in Australia. The essay will recommend new policies for Australia and draw an overall conclusion.

It is evident from the literature review that overpopulation is a major factor contributing climate change. How is the growing population destroying the natural resources and why it is necessary to minimize the population? With the increase in population, there is an accelerated depletion of resources on the planet such land, water, air (Australian Public Service Commission, 2012). The per capita availability of the fresh water has declined by “one third over the past 50 years” (Schottinger & Koster, 2013). The resources like land, fresh water, and clean air are not available to an infinite limit which must be conserved to meet the future needs. With the growth in population, more land is required to meet the food needs and hence farmers are cultivating dry hillsides due to lack of arable land (Howe, 2014). There is an increase in deforestation to meet the need of land for the purpose of increasing residential areas. It leads to a destruction of forest, loss of biodiversity, extinction of wildlife species. Overpopulation leads to increase in need of fossil fuel adding to the existing pollution in the environment (Tranter & Lester, 2015). Overcrowding increases more cars on the road and more coal-fired electricity generated. It leads to air, water and soil pollution. There is an increase in consumption of cement, energy, and water. Consequently, there is more greenhouse gas emission and global warming accelerating the global pollution and climate change (Daly, 2016).

So, what are the consequences of this climate change? The change in climate and depleted resources makes the future sustainability difficult. The prominent environmental concerns in present Australia are related to climate variability, soil salinity, and waterway health. The environment in which we live influences our health through various channels. The physical effects of the health due to air pollution include respiratory problems (Howe, 2014). Mental health problems arise due to conditions like drought. According to Hardoy & Satterthwaite, (2014) World Health Organization, modifiable environmental factors are responsible for 30% of the global burden of disease. Malaria, diarrhea, and respiratory infections belong to the category of "diseases with largest absolute burden due to environmental exposures” (Lawson et al., 2015). According to Mihelcic & Zimmerman, (2014) 1015 people were killed in Australia due to bushfires between 1915 and 2012.

Conclusively, overcrowding leads to environmental suicide as we are eating away the planet may it be petrol, superphosphate or clean air. Additionally, there is an increase in economic disadvantage as well as decreasing future sustainability (Gustafson & Baofeng, 2014).  (Mihelcic & Zimmerman, 2014) believes that the human intervention with a natural system may exacerbate or reduce the health risks. Hence there is a need of addressing the population issue to save the earth and meet the needs of future generation.

Sustainable future is the primary vision of the government of Australia (Howe, 2014). The role of various government and non-governmental organization in health and environmental initiatives reflects the increasing awareness (Tranter & Lester, 2015). Therefore, it is planning to adopt a policy similar to China's one-child policy to curb the growing population size (Choukhmane et al., 2013). The key to enhancing health promoting activities is to develop healthy public policies (Muramatsu et al., 2016). This policy was devised with the aim of increasing health and well-being of people by creating sustainable future. According to the review conducted by Karen Hardee, director of the “Evidence Project at the nonprofit Population Council” on “41 National Adaptation Programs of Action”, 37 emphasized on population as a climate-related problem and six of them recognized “family planning as a possible mitigation technique” (Schottinger & Koster, 2013). On the National Earth Day, the group's national president said: “one-child policy is "something we need to throw into the mix” (Australian Public Service Commission, 2012).

The key feature of a healthy public policy is to advocate the decrease in health inequalities (WHO). According to Prasad et al., (2016), before implementation of public policy it is necessary to foresee and consider the health consequences of the policy. The global objective is to create sustainable future. Sustainability refers to meeting present public needs without compromising the needs of the generations to come (Choukhmane et al., 2013).  Public policies are formulated to improve health and well-being of people. Hence, it must concern with the sustaining ecosystem. The government of Australia intends to minimize the population density by implementing the policy similar to China's one-child policy. In this context, the report will discuss the positive and negative aspects of this policy if applied in Australia.

According to the one child policy in China, a family could have only one child in urban areas and two in rural areas (Tranter & Lester, 2015). It was introduced in the year 1979, by the government with the aim to move towards a “voluntary small family culture” (Zeng & Luo, 2013). With the goal of attaining the population strength of 1.2 billion by the year 2000, the policy was implemented, and the census report revealed 1.27 billion for this year (Tranter & Lester, 2015). According to Cameron et al., (2013) this policy has prevented 250 to 300 million births.

However, this policy came up with several positive and negative consequences. This policy in China has substantially decreased the fertility rate from 2.9 in 1979 to 1.7 in 2002 and significantly changed the demographic pattern (Prasad et al., 2016). The China's family policy had significantly influenced the lives of a quarter of world’s population. The country was strict in implementing the policy and did not entertain any violation of the rules (Choukhmane et al., 2013). This policy had significantly affected the sex ratio, which increased from 1.06 to 1.17 in 2001 (Tranter & Lester, 2015). Given the opportunity of having only one child, led to sex preferences for their child during first pregnancy in urban areas. However, in rural areas, if the first child was female they ensured that the second child was the son. There was a great decline in the female births due to sex-selective abortions and higher preferences for male child particularly in urban areas (Choukhmane et al., 2013).

Before implementing such policy in Australia, there is a need to consider both its positive and negative aspects as the ultimate goal is to benefit the people. The negative and disastrous consequences of the one child policy in China were “sex imbalance”. Consequently, it affected the mental health of men giving rise to socially disruptive behavior among them. Some men were left unmarried and deprived of having the family. Increasing scarcity of females led to "kidnapping and trafficking of women for marriage” (Cameron et al., 2013). Later, there was an “increase commercial sex workers”. It resulted in the “rise of sexually transmitted diseases and human immunodeficiency virus infection” (Gustafson & Baofeng, 2014). It increased the threat of declining China’s stability in the future.

According to Jing, (2013), the decrease in birth rate led to “improvement in life expectancy”. There was” increase in the ratio of between elderly parents and adult children”. The drastic outcome of this situation is increased the financial dependency of older people on their offspring due to lack of adequate pension coverage (Schottinger & Koster, 2013). Thus the couples were responsible for “four parents and one child” a situation named as 4:2:1. Thus, China is facing a challenge of balancing “basic human right of reproduction with the population growth” (Gustafson & Baofeng, 2014).  It was argued by Daly, (2016) that the disturbance in sex ratio was not a mere consequence of one child policy rather infanticide of girls during 1930-1940 due to increasing preference for male child. Prasad et al., (2016) believes that the sex-selective abortion would have continued even in the absence of one child policy which only worsened the situation. Currently, there is no improvement in the sex ratio in China. It is most likely to occur in near future. Additionally, the policy has resulted in significant emotional cost. As people were coerced from terminating the second pregnancy and not allowed to determine their family size, it led to depression and psychological stress.

Da & Welch, (2016) believed that there are less positive outcomes of this one child policy in China. It unquestionably declined the fertility which caused the China’s demographic transition (Tranter & Lester, 2015). There is a little data supporting the evidence that China is becoming a “small family culture”. In last three decades, China has gained one quarter of its per capita GDP growth (Zeng & Luo, 2013). This has led to better nutrition and longer life expectancies. A rising level of education and high standard of living has been observed in China. However, the negative outcomes exceed the positive ones.  According to Gustafson & Baofeng, (2014) increase in wealth and globalization is creating a barrier to implementing the one-child policy further. Wealthy people stopped bothering the economic disincentives. With the growth in freedom of movement, it is hard for the family planning authorities to track the people flouting the regulations (Cameron et al., 2013). According to Choukhmane et al., (2013) the consequences of high sex ratio, slow growth in population, increase in elderly population, potential risks due to lack of medical care and unapproved pregnancies among women are factors calling for relaxation of this policy. Gustafson & Baofeng, (2014) believes that this policy was terrible in violating personal rights of millions of women in China. However, there is an ongoing debate continuing if the policy should be continued (Gustafson & Baofeng, 2014).

Muramatsu et al., (2016) believes that Australia must consider implementing the China's one-child policy. Keeping in view the negative outcomes of the china’s policy, it is clear that Australia too might experience similar outcomes. Implementation of this policy in Australia will disturb the economy in long run (Liu, 2014). According to the reports of “China's National Family Planning Commission”, 70% of the Chinese women prefer to have more than two babies. It indicates that the one child policy in China is not voluntary. Otherwise, it would have reflected the preferences of the Chinese people in their family size (Jing, 2013). In addition the policy in China has exacerbated the preference for male child in rural areas and triggered the gender imbalance. Leonard (2013) estimated that by 2020 China will contain 30 million unmarried men with no hope of finding wife. Consequently, the high male-to-female ratio triggers the domestic and international violence. From the economic point of view, Australia will not be able to tackle the sex imbalance, rise of sexual workers and transmission of sex related diseases (Liu et al., 2016).

One child policy has increased the ratio of elderly people and adult children. Economic growth is effected by ageing population in Australia. Liu et al., (2016) believes that implementing this policy will further exacerbate this trend. Australia is popular for protecting the human rights across the world.  By implementing this policy Australia will face the challenge of balancing “basic human right of reproduction with the population growth”. Long term strategic risks include tarnishing the positive image and popularity of Australia making it appears as monster by implementing this policy (Leonard, 2013).

 (2013) argues that it 's hard to decrease the population growth even with an outbreak of pandemic diseases or by implementing global one child policies and sustain our way of life. Hardoy & Satterthwaite, (2014) reports that even after a catastrophic event, 5-10 billion people would remain by the year 2100. So, what are the quick demographic fixes to address sustainability problems? According to Daly, (2016), the only way to secure the future of humanity is to curb resources and control population. The shrinkage in workforce and increase in ageing population has ultimately pushed China to abolish its one child policy. Well, it is still debatable if Australia should implement one child policy.

According to Mellino & Ulgiati, (2015) Australia must implement policies focusing more on a reduction of consumption and improvement in recycling. There should be increased family planning assistance to improve fertility reductions, which will decrease the number of people to feed by mid-century. There is a need for reproductive education and implementing effective family planning system (Schottinger & Koster, 2013). However, there are more programs and policies upcoming to address growing population size but what about the crisis related to climate change? Additional programs are required to be developed to sustain the natural resources. It may include an introduction of devices to reduce air, water and soil pollution, policies to enhance afforestation or alternate supply of fuel and energy to reduce greenhouse emission (Tranter & Lester, 2015). The nation must develop alternative plans to prevent famine, drought, floods and other natural calamities (Choukhmane et al., 2013). Sustainable agricultural practices should be more robust and innovative (Gustafson & Baofeng, 2014).

The Australian government must enforce stringent immigration policies. Australia is an abode to people of other nations who have experienced human right abuse (Schottinger & Koster, 2013). Several populations are not European descendants but have settled in Australia since 200 years due to an availability of better job opportunities and some regions with low cost of living. According to Gustafson & Baofeng, (2014) Australia offers its people better quality of life as compared to China. Tranter, & Lester, (2015) reported that “Australia’s per capita GDP is estimated at (US) $47,400, compared with China’s estimated per-capita GDP between (US) $5,963 and $6,000.” This is highly changing the national identity of Australia. There is a significant change in migrants from overseas sources. Australia’s diverse nature is due to settlers arriving from different parts of the world.  The overseas born population in Australia comprises of more than 140 ethnic groups, speaking more than 90 different languages and practicing 80 different types of religion. The government must impose strict laws against non-European decedents and does not permit permanent citizenship except for those who are highly educated and skilled in the particular profession and beneficial to Australia (Daly, 2016). Punishable laws should be formulated against illegal migrants. Presently, there are over 50,000 populations in Australia who are illegal migrants. They are mainly Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian asylum seekers, smugglers, and British nationals who have landed in Australia through overstayed visas. It is necessary to deter such arrivals in the future. Australia must also consider the positive and negative aspects of China's one-child policy discussed above. The country must have the alternate strategy to tackle possible crisis such as the increase in elderly population and financial dependency, the imbalance in sex ratio, kidnapping, and trafficking of women. It must develop and deliver effective tax concession system and offer sholarcshisps for married couple with single child. A robust mass awareness and education campaigns must be regularly initiated to highlight the issues related to overpopulation (Howe 2014). The policies should not focus only on the overpopulation but on overconsumption of resources as well. Da & Welch, (2016) recommends strengthening economic development and sustainability to increase environment sustainability.

Conclusively, the environment in which we live influences our health through various channels. Overpopulation is significantly affecting the environment and the climate by overconsumption of natural resources. There is an urgent need to decrease population size in Australia but the strategies applied to meet this goal should not compromise the moral values. It is also necessary to keep in mind that it is same people who will be required for caring at our old age and pay taxes for support. They will be needed during the war to defend and protect the country.  Minimizing population size to an extent that they are not available for any adversity faced by the nation will create havoc. It appears weird advocating a developing world to stop having children. Hence, thinking out of the box to address a thus issue is necessary. Solution to a problem must be innovative that eliminates present crisis and simultaneously saves the future generation from proposed risks. Better education on family planning and assistance, ensuring high education attainment among women are crucial part of this global objective. The report has helped to identify, analyze and summarize the contributing factors of environmental hazards impacting the human health. The essay has discussed the factors behind overpopulation in Australia and its impact on the environment. This report clearly highlights the positive and negative aspects of implementing China's one-child policy in Australia. Lastly, the essay has recommended new areas of implementing strict polices and laws. Iron daunted spirit, commitment and willingness is required to achieve the global objective. 


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