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18 July, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 17 July, 2019 11:20:44 PM
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Protecting and promoting health in Bangladesh in the Anthropocene epoch

Climate change reduces food growth which leads to increased stunting. Lower monitoring of air pollution also contributes to climate change
TASDIDAA SHAMSI
Protecting and promoting health in Bangladesh in the Anthropocene epoch

Humans dominate earth. Since 1950, globalization and business tools have come handy with increased usage. The temperature is increasing, causing an increase in greenhouse effect which is the trapping of the sun's warmth in a planet's lower atmosphere, due to the greater transparency of the atmosphere to visible radiation from the sun than to infrared radiation emitted from the planet's surface. Biodiversity which is the variety of plant and animal life in the world or in a particular habitat, a high level of which is usually considered to be important and desirable is decreasing. By 2030, the world population is expected to become 9 billion according to United Nations.

2000 years ago Hippocrates created the link between surroundings and disease in ancient Greece. Waiora in Maori with ‘wai’ being water and ‘ora’ being life, the health of human and other animals and natural systems are emergent properties.  

Anthropocene is the period of time during which human activities have had an environmental impact on the earth regarded as constituting a distinct geological age. Climate change, effects of multiple environmental changes on food availability and quality like El Nino, emerging disease like SARS and zika, unsustainable cities, future fish requirements, reducing food waste, forest conservation, and family planning are all because of Anthropocene. Climate change reduces food growth which leads to increased stunting. Lower monitoring of air pollution also contributes to climate change.

Climate change in Bangladesh is a pressing issue. According to National Geographic, Bangladesh is one the most vulnerable nations to the impacts of climate change. Bangladesh being located on the Tropic of Cancer receives fairly direct radiation throughout the year and maintains relatively high temperature. El Niño is a climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean with a global impact on weather patterns. The cycle begins when warm water in the western tropical Pacific Ocean shifts eastward along the equator towards the coast of South America. El Nino is the reason for hotter summers with lower rainfall mostly seen recently in Bangladesh.

El Nino effects on Bangladeshi agriculture are strong. The situation is linked to water shortages, degradation of soil and disruption in planting of crops.  When rainfall is low, less crops are produced. This causes a negative effect on food security. Droughts during El Nino can cause an adverse effect on biodiversity, wildlife and livelihoods. Reduced rainfall can cause a decrease in supply of water. Water users, either in districts or individuals that rely on ground water, may see a degradation in water quality as lack of groundwater recharge from reduced rainfall can lead to increased saltwater intrusion. The impacts of El Nino will also be felt in the energy sector as hydropower production may decline due to water availability in reservoirs and rivers. If hot conditions persist, energy use for cooling can put additional demands on energy grids.

Bangladesh is a high risk country for emerging infectious diseases because of its high population density and poverty. Emerging infectious diseases like SARS and zika can threaten all people throughout the world. It should be taken into consideration whether the country is fully prepared to address outbreaks.

In 2007, humanity passed a historic milestone. For the first time ever, more people lived in urban environments – namely, cities – than in rural areas. Since then, the trend has only continued, as the global urban population has grown year over year, to 54 percent of all people today. Cities like Dhaka everywhere, are not sustainable. The average city-dweller consumes many more resources, and emits far more greenhouse gas, than their rural compatriots, anywhere in the world. If more people move into unsustainable cities, resource consumption will increase, meaning urbanization could lead to near certain disaster, not just with global climate, but also with regards to air pollution and water.

Global consumption of fish has doubled since 1973 according to WorldFish Centre, and the developing world has been responsible for nearly all of this growth. Countries with rapid population growth, rapid income growth, and urbanization tend to have the greatest increases in consumption of animal products, including fish products, and the developing world has experienced all three trends with Bangladesh not falling behind.

Accrding to a baseline study, the people in Bangladesh are wasting about 5.5 per cent of the total procured food, a study says. Of the total wastage, 3 per cent  is being made during procurement and preparation stage, 1.4 per cent  during serving, and another 1.1 per cent  from the plates. As Bangladesh is one of the most densely and highly populated countries in the world, there will be a problem of food scarcity if the problem of wastage is not addressed.

Bangladesh is gradually succeeding in forest conservation through continuous changes in related policies, laws and regulations. The country needs to put more focus in maintaining forests as this will help to address the greenhouse effect.

Bangladesh has made remarkable achievements in reducing the average number of children per woman of reproductive age (total fertility rate – TFR). This figure was above seven in the early 1970s, but, according to World Bank, it is now merely 2.2. Bangladesh currently has the lowest TFR in South Asia. As Bangladesh is a very populous country with an increasing young adult population, care should be taken for decreased childbirths for sustained survival in the Anthropocene Epoch.

The writer is BEng (Hons) Biomedical Engineering,

The University of Sheffield (UK), MPH, MBA(IBA)(DU),

Doctor of Public Health Year 1 (The University of Malaya)

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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