NCPADD welcomes the theme “Invest in Our Planet” for World Earth Day 2023. Let us all raise our voices in unison for a safer, healthier earth for all.
Tobacco use is now a well-documented global health threat. It is currently the leading cause of preventable death in the world, killing more than 7 million people annually.
Lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary illness are some of the health effects of exposure to ambient cigarette smoke.
Although these effects have not yet been quantified, exposure to lingering chemicals in areas where smoking has taken place may also have negative effects on human health.
Most of what is known about the dangers of tobacco, however, is about the direct impact (in terms of morbidity and mortality) of first- and second-hand smoke on people’s health.
The public health community has yet to highlight the numerous additional ways that tobacco use, production, and expansion affect human development. Some of which include cultivation and curing, product manufacturing and distribution, product consumption, and post-consumption waste.
It is critical to comprehend how tobacco affects the environment for a number of reasons. These include the fact that it enables us to assess some of the risks associated by tobacco production that are currently excluded from tobacco mortality estimates (such as poor air quality and pesticide use), as well as its impact on development, including economic stability, food security, and gender equality.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) demonstrate that health cannot be considered in isolation from a wide range of other factors, one of which is the environment. Understanding tobacco’s detrimental effects on biodiversity and indoor pollution shifts the conversation from one of personal well-being to one of global well-being.
Additionally, it means that tobacco is now a threat to human development as a whole rather than just a harm to health. This issue necessitates an all-government and all-society approach and engagement.
Cigarette butts are the most commonly discarded piece of waste in the world and the most common item of litter found on beaches and waterways worldwide.
Cigarette butts have been found to contain hazardous substances such as arsenic, lead, nicotine, and ethyl phenol. These toxic chemicals leak out of discarded butts and into the earth and water.
Despite the fact that the environmental effects of this trash have not yet been assessed, the number of discarded butts could cause leachates to have an impact on the water supply’s quality.
Via bioaccumulation in the food chain, it is feasible that waste from tobacco products will also prove to be a substantial environmental contaminant and potential health risk for humans.
Due to the widespread legalization of marijuana products for both recreational and medical purposes, the businesses of cannabis production and processing are expanding quickly. Yet, more regulatory scrutiny, notably in the areas of sustainability and the environment, comes along with this rapid expansion and legality.
Misuse of pesticides by cannabis growing operations, like conventional agriculture, poses a direct threat to nearby aquatic life, fish, consumers, and even employees. The effects of both short- and long-term pesticide exposure from consumption are unknown despite ongoing research.
Cannabis cultivation for both therapeutic and recreational purposes is becoming more popular everywhere. The findings indicate that water is used extensively in both indoor and outdoor cannabis growth.
Water pollution and diversion are caused by the increased water demand, which may have a negative impact on the ecosystem. According to studies, cannabis plants produce a large number of biogenic volatile organic compound, which may have an adverse effect on indoor air quality. Cannabis grown indoors requires a lot of energy for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and lighting.
Emissions of greenhouse gases are a result of energy usage. Soil erosion may be directly impacted by cannabis cultivation. Cannabis plants, meanwhile, have the capacity to both absorb and store heavy metals.
It is envisioned that the use of tools like life cycle analysis will help us better understand how cannabis farming affects the environment and that technologies like precision irrigation will reduce water use.
The classic and original technique of growing cannabis is outdoors. Although it is inexpensive, it is dependent on the environment and natural resources. Poor management of the soil, water, and pest populations may result in serious environmental problems.
Indoor cultivation (including greenhouse cultivation), on the other hand, allows for complete control over every aspect of the plants, including light and temperature, but is limited by greater prices, increased energy use, and associated environmental implications. Reducing agriculture’s global environmental impact is critical for environmental sustainability.
However, because the environmental impacts of cannabis are unknown, there is a lack of systemic principles guiding its sustainable farming. Following the unprecedented legalization of cannabis, there is an urgent need for a thorough review of its environmental impact.
Those who inhabit Earth are themselves stewards of it. NCPADD understands that we are connected to the earth and how we treat it benefits or harms us.
We are part of it’s biodiversity. An appreciation for sustainable development practices is vital. Government, businesses, not-for-profit entities and community members are all responsible for conserving the environment on which we depend.
It is with this understanding that NCPADD seeks to launch our clean air initiative in the coming month in an effort to advocate for protection of our people and environment.
SOURCE: National Committee for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency