World Environmental Health Day(WEHD) is annually observed across the globe on 26 September to raise awareness about the importance of environmental health and to promote action to protect human health from environmental hazards.
- The day is dedicated to raising awareness about the critical role the environment plays in our well-being.
The theme of WEHD 2023 is, “Global Environmental Public Health: Standing up to protect everyone’s Health each and every day“.
- The theme highlights that Environmental health is a critical component of public health, encompassing both natural and human-induced factors that shape our well-being.
i.On 26 September 2011, the Council of the International Federation of Environmental Health (IFEH) declared the 26th September of every year as the World Environmental Health Day (WEHD).
ii.The declaration was in support of the inaugural Environmental Health Youth Summit held in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Council of the Federation.
- The declaration was made official by the Board of Directors of the IFEH.
iii.Since its inception, WEHD has grown to become a global platform for addressing critical environmental health challenges and promoting sustainable practices.
i.The day aims to raise awareness about environmental health and work towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
ii.The components essential for good health are:
- Clean air, a stable climate, adequate water, sanitation and hygiene, safe use of chemicals, protection from radiation, healthy and safe workplaces, sound agricultural practices, health-supportive cities and built environments, and a preserved nature.
iii.Human unresponsiveness towards nature is a key driver of the environmental degradation of the natural world.
- Environmental pollution, global warming, deforestation, ozone layer depletion, and biodiversity losses are some of the basic reasons behind poor environmental health.
i.According to the World Health Organization (WHO), healthier environments could prevent almost one-quarter of the global burden of disease. More than 100 illnesses and injuries can be directly linked to environmental health concerns.
- WHO estimates an additional 2,50,000 people are dying every year due to climate change.
ii.WHO also estimates that 23% of all deaths are linked to “environmental risks” like land and air pollution, water contamination, and chemical exposure.
iii.According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), some 11 million tonnes of plastic waste flow annually into oceans. This may triple by 2040.
2023 Events in India:
i.To commemorate the WEHD, the Department of Chemical Engineering of MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bengaluru (Karnataka) organized a series of events from 26 September 2023 to 3 October 2023 such as:
ii.SAFI Institute of Advanced Study (SIAS), Malappuram (Kerala) observed the WEHD with programs like expert talks, community outreach programme, and a debate among the college students.
About International Federation of Environmental Health (IFEH):
President– Dr. Henroy P. Scarlett (Jamaica Association of Public Health Inspectors)
Headquarters– London, the United Kingdom
The IFEH was inaugurated on September 25, 1985, and registered as a Company on June 6th, 1986.
- Dr. Bruno Cvetkovic, representing the Croatian Chamber of Health Professionals, secured the position of IFEH President-Elect during the Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) IFEH meeting.
- He will hold the position of President-Elect until 2024, after which he will assume the role of IFEH President from 2024 to 2026.