Environmental health is a core component of public health. Providing a healthy environment in which people can live is essential in order to sustain a healthy population. In Qatar, the main areas of concern regarding environmental health include air quality, drinking water and waste management. Data from the World Health Organization shows that air pollution is the largest single environmental health risk in the world.

The challenges facing air quality are highlighted in the Qatar National Development Strategy 2011. High levels of dust, especially in a region where dust storms are frequent, along with various local pollutants affect air quality and lead to respiratory illnesses.

Health implications

For a population to thrive, it must have a healthy environment in which to live – free from pollutants and toxins. Ensuring clean water is paramount to supporting optimal health. Frequent consumption of contaminated water can lead to conditions including diarrhea, bacterial dysentery, cholera, typhoid and others. Similarly, air pollution can contribute to ill health. The World Health Organization states that countries that are able to reduce air pollution levels can reduce their burden of diseases such as stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory conditions.

Environmental health objectives

For many key areas of this strategy there is considerable emphasis on individuals taking control of their own health, with the strategy creating the support network to enable them to do this. However, the overriding focus of the Environmental Health Objectives puts the emphasis on authorities to monitor and enforce processes and regulations that will lead to the sustainability of a healthy environment in which population can live.

The World Health Organization states that countries that are able to reduce air pollution levels can reduce their burden of diseases such as:

Environmental Health Objectives

  1. EH1 Collaborate with the Ministry of Municipality and Environment and other relevant sectors responsible for environment health to monitor, identify and mitigate any existing and/or potential sources of air pollution that can have a negative impact on the health and wellbeing of the public
  2. EH2 Ensure effective and efficient monitoring, detection and notification of water related risks to prevent contamination
  3. EH3 Strengthen and implement an effective and efficient waste management system