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The role of international agreement in protecting the environment and human health

There are many environmental issues that the world is currently facing, and one concern of global importance is the spread of pollution and environmental hazards across societal borders. This has a detrimental effect on the livelihood, health and general well being of humans, and so to address this problem, international agreement and cooperation is needed to stop the degradation of the environment, to mitigate threats, and to ensure a positive future.

Toxic chemicals are very bad news for the environment and for the health of humans. Not only to they have a direct impact on the health of air, land and ocean, but they can also get into the food chain and cause health problems indirectly. There are many effects of toxic chemicals on humans – it weakens the immune system, can be irritant to skin, causes sickness and ailments, affects reproductive health, and can lead to all manner of serious health complications. These dangerous chemicals are being traded internationally, and as such, are freely and often moving across international borders. Because of this, reducing the danger of these toxic substances means agreement between different countries, by banning or restricting the usage and trade of such toxic chemicals. If the trading of toxic chemicals can be made illegal, then the production of them, and the demand for them, will naturally decline helping to make our environment free of chemicals.

Water pollution is a real issue – not only does polluted water look gray, green, turbid and unsightly, it can also have a major affect on water dwelling species, and also affect humans indirectly by eating contaminated fish for instance. Exposure to a polluted aquatic or marine environment can lead to heavy metal poisoning which is very serious. The problem with polluted water is that it is constantly on the move, moving from country to country, and as such, cannot be addressed by one single country only. Again, international agreement is required to solve the problem, and can help to mitigate the problem by forming new policies for pollution reduction, to help minimize pollutants such as chemical waste and oil from getting into the water cycle. International agreement would be much more effective in addressing the problem than the efforts of a single country.

Air pollution is one of the most serious environmental problems, due to the as yet unforeseen dangers of global warming, and other significant effects such as o-zone depletion. Global warming is already having many consequences, such as the increase of malaria, and other insect-spread diseases such as dengue and yellow fever. The o-zone layer protects us from UV radiation, and without it, we have an increased risk of skin cancer, poor immune systems, and many other health problems related to UV exposure. Though air pollution on ground level has many severe dangers of its own, such as lung cancer, heart disease, asthma and many others. Air is free flowing and does not consider international borders, so again, to really make effective measures against air pollution, governments around the world need cooperation and agreement. While individuals and small scale communities can come together and help make an impact upon air pollution in their local area, for the large scale pollutants, large scale cooperation is required. International agreements between different countries can work to reduce the emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases. Incentives can also be made to promote clean energy and technological advances. Agreement can include sanctions which punish countries for not meeting deadlines. With international agreement and cooperation, the air will be healthier, and the health of communities around the world will be improved.

Harmful environments have a real affect on community health, but if we can agree to work together, the right changes can be made, and the world can be made a healthier and more sustainable place