The Environment And Life Expectancy
The environment is frequently seen as a gift to future generations and environmental care demonstrates a concern for the future. Life expectancy is an important element influencing how people value the end: longer lives make people more empathetic to future generations and selves. As a result, if someone wants to live longer, they should be willing to put more money into environmental quality.
Climate change already impacts health in various ways, including increased illnesses and deaths from common extreme weather events like heatwaves, storms, and floods, food system disruptions, increases in zoonoses and food, water, vector-borne diseases, and mental health issues. Also, many of the social determinants of human health, such as livelihoods, equality, access to health care, and social support structures, are continuously harmed by climate change. The most vulnerable and disadvantaged, including women, children, ethnic minorities, poor communities, migrants or displaced persons, elderly populations, and those with underlying health issues, are disproportionately affected by climate-related health concerns.
Although it is undeniable that climate change influences human health, correctly estimating the scope and impact of many climate-sensitive health hazards remains difficult. On the other hand, scientific breakthroughs are gradually allowing us to ascribe an increase in sickness and mortality to human-caused warming and, more precisely, define the dangers and size of these health hazards.
Our Current Situation
The rate of fall in life expectancy worldwide is frightening, and Africa is not immune to the trend. Many people claim that life expectancy is multifaceted since what affects one continent may not influence another, which can be attributed to environmental and social variables. The number of years a newborn infant would live if current mortality patterns at the time of birth remained constant throughout their life is known as life expectancy at birth. The average number of years a person is expected to live before dying is life expectancy.
On the other hand, environmental hazards might be viewed as air waste that provides harm to the population’s health and well-being within a geographical place or entity. As a result, there are views that environmental threats are primarily caused by CO2 emissions, which can be further divided into CO2 emissions from solid fuel use and CO2 emissions from liquid fuel use. CO2 emissions are those caused by the burning of fossil fuels and the production of cement and they include CO2 created by the use of solid, liquid, and gas fuels, as well as gas flaring. CO2 emissions from liquid fuels are primarily from the use of natural gas as an energy source.
It is argued that life expectancy is higher in Africa, due to unpolluted natural habitats, low levels of industrialization, high-quality raw food intakes and nutritional values, geographical and weather advantages. On the other hand, some argue that life expectancy in Africa is relatively low compared to different continents due to a high level of environmental hazards such as carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, inadequate hygiene, low nutritional knowledge, poor health care facilities, low income, and so on.
What Can We Do About It?
The African Union (AU) must implement a policy that regulates excessive CO2 emissions from solid fuel usage to mitigate the harmful effects on the African population’s lifetime. To control the persistent rise in mortality rates or disease-causing ailment or death, African economies should increase budgetary allocation to the health sector to address any health-related challenges arising from environmental hazards such as CO2 emissions and other environmental pollutants, which can cause serious health-related issues on human well-being.
In most African economies, a well-functioning environmental agency, such as an environmental protection agency, unit, or department, charged with the sole mission of controlling environmental dangers and guaranteeing environmental quality is severely lacking or non-existent. On this point, a state of emergency should be declared when such an environmental protection agency, unit, or department is established in African countries to assure quality control of the environment and its associated hazards.
The sensitivity of people, their resilience to the current rate of climate change, and the extent and tempo of adaptation will determine the health implications of climate change in the short to medium term. In the long run, the consequences will be increasingly determined by how much transformational action is taken now to decrease emissions and prevent severe temperature thresholds and potentially irreversible tipping points.
Author: Adelowo Oguntola