Your health and the environment 

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AS we move forward to a cleaner, greener environment, let us keep the present but also the future in mind.

As individuals, we need to take responsibility for what we can and must do to take care of our environment. It is not good enough to just rely on others to help solve environmental problems that affect us all. It is no secret that as people we all depend on the natural environment and taking heed of our national motto “One People, One Nation, One Destiny” will guide us in making our country Guyana better and by extension the world.

Everyone should be concerned about their health and that of their community. It is important to think before we act, since our actions directly or indirectly affect the environment. Our actions could have a positive or negative effect on the environment. Evidently, any action that hurts the environment will be detrimental to our well-being and well as other forms of biodiversity.

One might ask, why worry about the environment? What does it have to do with health? After all, people are paid to clean the streets, drains and it is the view of many that the water in trenches and rivers will carry our waste “out of sight” and far away. We need to stop this way of thinking! It is negative for us and the environment. We should stop to think then act because every positive action will lead to a positive result.

Zoning in on littering – does littering affect our health and environment? Littering is a negative action and it leads to negative results such as: 

* A smelly and unsightly environment;
* Harming animals and plants on which we depend for food and air;
* Contribute to vector, air and water-borne diseases.

Food waste affects our environment because a lot of food is thrown out in today’s society. Food is the single most abundant item in landfills, and when it breaks down it creates carbon dioxide and methane, both of which are greenhouse gases that help to contribute to global warming.
If we can reduce the amount of food waste by half, this simple step would greatly improve our environment and hence our health, allowing us to live longer, healthier lives.

How can I contribute to waste reduction?
* Purchase eco-friendly products.
* Practise the 3Rs, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
* Do not litter – it is an Offence with a fine of up to $50,000.
* Shop in bulk – this reduces packaging waste.
* Practise composting.
* Carry your own shopping bag to the market.
* Dispose of waste properly in bins.

It is the responsibility of each individual to be aware of her or his impact on the environment. Everyone should try to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible, by reducing waste; disposing of waste properly, conserving water and electricity. The best time to start is now. Remember your environment reflects you and negative actions have negative consequences, exercise wisdom. Let’s make the change today!

‘It’s our health, it’s our environment, so let’s protect it today’
You can share your ideas and questions by sending letters to: The Environmental Protection Agency, C/O Communications Department, Ganges Street, Sophia, GEORGETOWN, or email us at: eit.epaguyana@gmail.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.