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“Climate Change” and Public Health

How “Climate Change” affects the population of the United States has been a point of concern for a considerable amount of time now, sparking numerous debates on the topic. Combating the possible effects of the changing environment stands at the forefront of many organizations, including the American Public Health Organization (APHA), whose goal is to preserve the well-being of America’s citizens. One of the problems presented by Climate Change is air pollution, caused by several factors listed by the association in their overview of the issue (APHA). The first one is the increase in the ground-level ozone, a substance that comprises toxic smog (APHA). Another cause for concern is the rising number of wildfires exposing people to smoke, which also leads to respiratory illnesses (APHA). Climate Change is also responsible for the increase in the number of air particles, exposing people to allergens (APHA). Since all humans require clean air to breathe, these problems affect the U.S on a national scale. However, some demographics are more prone to health risks caused by pollution, such as people with pre-existing health conditions, children, the elderly, and infants (America’s Health Rankings, 2019).

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The effects of air pollution on the health and well-being of people need to be combated, as they affect a major part of the population, impacting the overall quality of life. One of the prominent ways to minimize air pollution is through enacting policies that regulate the number of allowed gas emissions from big companies and motor vehicle transport. Such a step can make people consider investing in ecologically friendly alternatives. Another way to improve the situation could be forcing the corporations, as the ones responsible for the biggest amount of gas emissions, to adopt a more sustainable and energy-efficient approach to their production (Climate Accountability Institute, 2019). Some of the initiatives for such changes are already in place, but unfortunately, they are being actively opposed by the current president’s administration. To name a specific initiative, it could be supporting and expanding the 1970 Clean Air Act, aimed at controlling air pollution on a national level. This can be achieved by contacting the local Senate representatives and voicing support for this law or voting for senators who already support the act.

Another important point in the discussion of public health issues stemming from air pollution is the impact on the American healthcare delivery system. The current system has proved that it cannot sustain itself under the stress of emergencies, often leaving people in need of basic services (DeVoe, 2008). Consequently, the strain of eroding public health would be too much to handle. If the government does not take a firm stance on the topic of controlling gas emissions, the effects they would cause will be devastating. An increased number of people getting ill or developing chronic conditions in need of constant treatment could severely affect the healthcare industry, as it would be unable to meet the rising demands. Furthermore, many of the dangers of the changing climate are gradual, it is hard to incorporate concerns about them into the healthcare system. U.S healthcare needs to adapt to climate change and consider it, as an inability to do so puts millions of American citizens at risk.

References

  1. American Public Health Association. (n.d.). Climate Change Decreases the Quality of the Air We Breathe [PDF document]. Web.
  2. America’s Health Rankings. (2019). Public Health Impact: Air Pollution. Web.
  3. Climate Accountability Institute. (2019). Carbon Majors. Web.
  4. DeVoe J. (2008). The unsustainable US health care system: a blueprint for change. Annals of family medicine, 6(3), 263–266. Web.

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