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.
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.