It's Environmental Health Day!
The link between poor environmental health and poverty around the world has become more evident than ever. This World Environmental Health Day, we’re shedding light on the relationship between our environment and the health and wellbeing of communities worldwide. This day marks global efforts towards overall environmental health, with a specific focus on protecting human health and the environment’s wellbeing.
Islam emphasises the importance of environmental health; the Prophet (ﷺ) said: ‘the world is sweet and green, and verily Allah is going to install you as vicegerents in it in order to see how you act’ (Muslim). This Hadith emphasises our individual responsibility to protect and care for the planet. He reminds us that we have a great duty to play our part as we’re entrusted with the remarkable authority to respect, nurture, and care for our environment.
So, how does environmental health relate to our work around poverty?
As our planet faces unprecedented challenges, we are faced with an urgent need for collective action to protect those facing poverty, hunger, and water insecurity. Impoverished communities are hit the hardest, as they often rely heavily on subsistence farming to earn a living and to feed their families. The recent increase in unpredictable weather systems, caused by environmental changes, has brought droughts and floods to many countries, wiping out entire farms and disrupted delivery channels, causing food prices to skyrocket.
Another pressing issue among impoverished communities, with direct links to poor environment is inadequate sanitation. Access to sanitation facilities remains a luxury in many countries across the world, contributing to the spread of diseases and contributing to the overall cycle of poverty. In many areas, preventable illnesses continue to take vital resources away from families who could otherwise focus on purchasing food, or educational resources for their children. A healthier environment could prevent almost a quarter of global disease.
World Environmental Health Day serves as a reminder that the wellbeing of our planet is directly linked to the wellbeing of its inhabitants. Together, we have a collective responsibility to protect our planet and to acknowledge the work done by environmental health workers across the globe. Together, let’s honour the words of our beloved Prophet (ﷺ) and follow in His footsteps, fulfilling our duty to the environment.
TUESDAY 26 SEP 2023