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The Effect of Industrialization and Chemical Use on the Health of Inhabitants

The world is evolving with unprecedented advancement in industrialization, technological disruptions, and innovations resulting in massive economic boost and growth. Overtime, industrialization has contributed to revenue sources, income generation for citizens, employment sources, an exponential increase in many countries’ economic development, and other incentives.

However, as laudable and instrumental industrialization can be to the economy, the Newton Third Law of Motion comes to play, ‘To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.’ Therefore, to every opportunity posited by industrialization, there is a significant challenge in commensuration.

Quite disheartening, the effect of industrial activities harms the health of the growing populace resulting in varying diseases, health problems, and even death. There is more like a chain reaction and link between industrialization and chemicals’ adverse effects resulting in climate change and birthing underlying health problems.

Our concern is how we can concert efforts to reduce the impending impacts of industrialization, chemicals, and climate change on citizens’ health.

Sources of Industrial Pollution, Climate Change, and Chemical Spillages

Natural events and human activities are assumed to be a significant contribution to climate change. However, research from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) establishes that global warming emanates from human activities.

The findings reported that human activities from the Industrial Revolution era increased the climate and environment’s alteration rate. And this is through varying industrial and production activities, resulting in the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The exponential human population increase has made more people burn fossil fuels to satisfy their energy requirements. These fuels run their cars, power factories, heat their homes, among other activities. And they result in 98% of carbon emissions, 24% of methane gas emissions, and 18% nitrous oxide emissions.

Industrial activities such as cement production, waste management systems, refrigeration, foam blowing, solvent use, melting and processing of polymers, gas flaring, oil spillage, unsafe chemical disposal, among many others, have contributed immensely to variations in the climate.

Greenhouse gases from human activities and industrialization happen to be significant drivers of climate change and affect human health.

Emission of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2), Chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs), perfluorocarbon (PFCs), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), Sulphur hexafluorides (SF6), and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) serve as the primary sources of climate change emanating from industrial activities and pollution.

Potential Health Impacts of Industrial Activities

It is no news that industrial activities, chemical spillages, and climate change have impeding effects on citizens’ health. Over time, industrial activities and climate change effect give rise to environmental problems that significantly impact human health and existence.

We have the direct and indirect impacts of industrialization, chemical spillages, and climate changes on human health. The immediate effects are varying diseases and deaths resulting from extreme weather conditions such as flooding, water pollution, storms, hurricanes, among many others.

The indirect effects are those that are resulting from activities that facilitate the development and growth of microorganisms. These indirect effects of industrial activities can also affect the immune system, cause disease vectors’ proliferation, and increase pathogens’ resistance.

Furthermore, industrial activities such as cement production result in the development of carcinogenic effects on humans. Also causing varying levels of health problems, i.e., catarrh, cough and cold, pneumonia, skin infections such as dermatitis, eczema, and rashes; upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), and many more diseases.

Other industrial activities result in serious health problems such as Avian influenza, Blue Tongue Disease, Campylobacteriosis, Chikungunya fever, Cholera, Ebola, Hemorrhagic diarrhea, Leishmaniasis, Lyme borreliosis, malaria, Neohropathia, Rift Valley Fever, Ross River Fever, Salmonellosis, Tick-borne Encephalitis, West Nile Fever, and Zika Virus disease.

Surprisingly, these diseases may sound ambiguous and new to us. But they dwell among us due to temperature variations and humidity change, industrial activities, and chemical use.

It is imperative to mention the misuse of chemicals to serve as instruments for chemical warfare resulting in loss of lives and property damage. This misuse leaves an indelible effect on global warming due to exposure of the atmosphere to varying chemical weapons usage.

Solutions and Policy Recommendations

There is an impetus to create a sustainable environment and improve citizens’ health status through climate-smart industrial activities. This can be achieved through:

  • Development of industrial regulations and standards to protect the environment and citizens’ health.
  • Adoption of clean and renewable energy usage
  • Reduction in the use of natural resources and emphasis on the reuse and recycling of industrial by-products.
  • Implement programs and strategies to help in the reduction of emissions emanating from industrial activities and chemical usage.
  • Advocacy by citizens on climate-smart industrial activities and orientation on green industrialization.

Conclusion

Industrialization plays a significant role in our economy. The citizens’ health is quintessential as they serve as a substantial resource and workforce in developing a nation. Thus, the need to create a balance between climate change, industrialization, and human health.

We all have a critical role in advocating for climate-smart industrial activities, cleaner energy, and improvement of citizens’ health status. The quality of life we live is embedded in the quality of our environment and climate-smart actions.

So, be conscious and take action!

Author: Nehemiah Eremiye

Photo credit: www.ces.fau.edu

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