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Health Care Assignment: Environmental Issue of Water in Melbourne, Australia

Question

Task: Choose a SPECIFIC geographical region (such as a city or suburb) facing the environmental health issues of water. You are supposed to address the following points in your health care assignment: Part 1: Use the WHO (1999) DPSEEA framework (http://www.who.int/wssd/resources/ indicators/en/ Chapter 7) to describe the Driving forces, Pressures, State changes, Exposures, and Effects relevant to the public health problem faced by the population living in your chosen geographical area. In your explanation, consider any populations that are disproportionately affected by the problem, and any social, political or economic influences on the issue that aren’t captured by the DPSEEA framework.

Part 2: Write a summary that describes:

  • How the environmental health issue is currently being managed.
  • What are the legislative and regulatory measures intended to control this health risk at the federal and state level?
  • What is the role of existing health agencies and other agencies, key stakeholders including community groups, critical infrastructure?
  • Evidence-based recommendations for addressing gaps in current policy, regulation and management for this environmental health issue

Answer

1. Introduction to Health Care Assignment
Water is one of the essential components for each and every living creature in this planet. In that case, humans are not an exceptional case, and thus, water is equally essential for humans to maintain a sustainable balance of the body fluids. Without consuming water, no living creature will be able to manage a healthy life. However, the increasing water pollution is degrading the quality of drinking water, and it has become a major concern for all the countries, and its population (Wright, Paciuszkiewicz&Belmer, 2018). As the amount of drinking water is decreasing day-by-day, the needs and requirements of drinking water are increasing among global people respectively. By considering this issue of water pollution, majority of countries’ government have developed diversified strategies to reduce the water pollution and to provide clean and drinkable water to the people.

Constant consumption of polluted water has become the major factor, which increases several illness and diseases into the human bodies, as well as it also elevated the rate of mortality through global countries. On the basis of the issue, this very report is about to demonstrate the environment health-related issues, which is increasing day by day in the society, as well as the consequences of consumption drinking water to health of the people, especially in Melbourne, Australia. Vast amount of polluted water has become a great matter of concern for the people of Melbourne, along with the Australian Government (Furlong, Gan & De Silva, 2016). Thus, the report will also be demonstrating the measures and initiatives of Australian government and other major agencies, who are trying to offer clean water throughout the country by reducing the polluted water’s amount.

2. Part 1: Use of DPSEEA Model of WHO (1999)
In 1999, the “World Health Organisation” or WHO has introduced the DPSEEA model. The major intention behind developing such model is to illustrate the factors, which affects the environment and makes the environment unhealthy for living creatures. Such an unhealthy environment, includes water, air, soil and many other elements that have significant detrimental effects into the health of humans. DPSEEA model consists of six specific attributes, such as driving factors, pressure, state, exposures, effects on health and the action taken for minimising the effect (Stedileet al., 2018). Here, DPSEEA model is about to use to illustrate the driving factors of water pollution and how it affects the health of Melbourne’s people.

DPSEEA Model about Water Pollution-related Environmental Health Issue

Figure: 1. DPSEEA Model about Water Pollution-related Environmental Health Issue
(Source: Andersenet al., 2016)

2.1 Driving Factors of Water in Melbourne
The core reason behind such an increasing amount of water pollution throughout the globe is the wide-range of growing population. A similar scenario is also applicable for the growing water pollution level in Melbourne. Based on the recent information of Macrotrends (2021), the present numbers of inhabitants in the metro areas of Melbourne are approximately near 4,97,0000 and this number has elevated by around 2.2% from the year of 2019. Simultaneously, the amounts of populations have increased in the year of 2019 from the year of 2018 by approximately 2.8%, where the numbers of inhabitants were around 4,772,000. Based on the increasing numbers of inhabitants in Melbourne, it can be stated that that the growing population of Melbourne is one of the major reasons for which the demand of drinkable water is enhancing (Andersenet al., 2016). On the other hand, to fulfill the demand of large population, different of large industries have developed in Melbourne, and constant emission of hazardous chemicals from these factories into water sources makes the drinkable water polluted in Melbourne.

2.2 Pressure of Water Pollution within Melbourne
As per the statement of O’Bryan (2019), around 80% of the drinkable water is distributed to Melbourne from two different sources, and these two sources are specifically the Yarra River and its other sources, along with the Central Highlands. However, these two sources are not efficient to fulfill the needs of large number of inhabitants in Melbourne, as the numbers of population is constantly increasing and such a limited amount of drinkable water has become a major concern for the society. Also, the presence of different large sectors has decreased the amount of drinkable water. Due to such reasons, water population has become a great issue for the peoples of Melbourne, and they feel excessive pressure due to limited amount of drinkable water throughout the capital city. On the other hand, they cannot drink from other water bodies due to contamination, and thus, it becomes excessively hard to drink and to fulfil the needs of appropriate water for the daily needs for people of Melbourne.

2.3 The State of Water Pollution throughout Melbourne
A wide proportion of pressure has been developed to different sources of water bodies in Melbourne, and the major reason behind such pressure is the growing number population every year. There are two types of pressures are to be found that make the water contaminated, for example activities of inhabitants and diversified natural calamities. These two types of pressures are the main reasons behind the contamination of drinkable water in Melbourne. Apart from natural events, frequently changing climate is another reason that affects the entire drinkable water sources and makes the water polluted throughout the Melbourne (Hurlimann & Wilson,2018). On the other hand, the presence of different hazardous pathogens makes the water polluted and make the water undrinkable. If such pathogens or microorganisms enter into human body through water, then these pathogens can damage different organs of a human being.

DPSEEA Model about Water Pollution-related Environmental Health Issue

Figure: 2. Different Kinds of Pathogens and their Effects on Human Health
(Source: Schweitzer &Noblet, 2018)

Whenever, such kinds of microorganisms’ amounts enhance in the water bodies, then the water and the source both becomes incompetent for the humans, and if anyone consume such polluted water from an incompetent water source, then these pathogens enter into human bodies and makes several damages to the organs. Besides these pathogens, there is another factor present that creates a pressure on the water sources, and such factor is the presence of inorganic elements into water bodies. Different kinds of inorganic elements are to be found into the water, such as ‘Nitrite (inappropriate from level over 1mg/Ltr.)’, ‘Nitrate (inappropriate from level over 10mg/Ltr)’, ‘Barium (inappropriate from level over 2mg/Ltr)’, ‘Selenium (inappropriate from level over 0.05mg/Ltr), as well as ‘Cyanide (inappropriate from level over 0.2mg/Ltr)’ and several other elements (Liu, Zhang & Zhao, 2018). Presence of these types of inorganic elements into water bodies creates a pressure on the humans to acquire drinkable water and a similar scenario is seen throughout Melbourne. Apart from these inorganic elements, the increasing amounts of plastic wastages and garbage has become another major matter of concern that is continuously increasing a pressure on the inhabitants during consumption of drinkable water in Melbourne. The numbers of inhabitants are increasing widely within Melbourne, and thus, the utilisation of plastic bags has also increased among people to carry things. After the purpose is fulfilled, these plastic carry bags are thrown into the rivers or to nearest sides of the rivers, which contaminate into the water after a while. However, these plastic bags or packages are non-disposable and stay into the water for a long time, which contaminate the water and its sources effectively. As the number of populations in Melbourne is quite large, thus, the amount of undrinkable water creates a pressure on the inhabitants and increases the demand of drinkable water among the people of Melbourne.

DPSEEA Model about Water Pollution-related Environmental Health Issue

Figure: 3. Large Amounts of Plastic Wastages are Found in Yerra River in Australia
(Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, 2018)

2.4 Exposures to the Water Pollution throughout the Location
The main reason for which water and its sources are constantly contaminating is the large population in Melbourne. Australia is a developed country and financially sustainable, and thus, different industries have developed within Melbourne. There are different of factories, which use hazardous chemicals and plastics to manufacture their products. However, their wastages drained into the water sources, which consist numerous hazardous elements and chemicals (Schweitzer &Noblet, 2018). Due to such chemicals and hazardous chemicals, large amounts of water sources are turning into polluted water, which is undrinkable and unusable by the people of Melbourne. However, the increasing demand of drinkable water force some societies to drink contaminated water, and as a result, they suffered from different serious diseases and organ failures. Simultaneously, another external exposure of water pollution is excessive use of insecticides and pesticides in the firms of Melbourne. These chemical-based pesticides disposed into nearest water bodies and make the water polluted.

2.5 Effects of Water Pollution among the People of Melbourne
As it is mentioned earlier that there are different drivers that make water polluted. Most of these drivers consist hazardous elements and chemicals, such as Chloride, Sulphate, Magnesium, nitrate, Zink and many other particles those are excessively injurious for human health. The growing population in Melbourne has increased the demand of drinkable water throughout the city and there is a limited source of drinkable water accessible in Melbourne. Thus, in order to fulfill the needs of water, people are frequently forced to drink waters from contaminated sources, for which they suffer from several health diseases as a reason of drinking polluted water (Gude, 2017). Most generic diseases that affect the health of Melbourne’s inhabitants are cancer, respiratory diseases, diarrheal diseases, cardiovascular diseases, as well as neurological diseases. In all chemicals, Nitrogenous chemicals are most effective for people’s health as it is highly responsible for cancer.

Such health-related issues are mostly seen among the people of rural areas. They have poor sanitation and thus, most of their wastage are thrown in the water bodies, which make the water polluted. Simultaneously, due to belong to a lower-income level, the people of rural areas do not have efficiency to access hygienic water and forcefully they have to use contaminated water for their daily needs and for drinking. Because of drinking such polluted water, several inorganic elements, as well as microorganisms enters into the body, which affects the health of rural people in Melbourne, Australia.

2.6 Actions Obtained by Government to Reduce Water Pollution throughout Melbourne
The main intention of the government is to increase the consciousness of the population of Melbourne on how to reduce water pollution and how undrinkable water can be turned into drinkable water. In order to create awareness about water pollution, the government of Australia has developed several initiatives and programmes, so that polluted water can be filtered and can be consumed for drinking(Khanet al., 2015). Along with government’s cooperation, diversified policies have been initiated to protect the water bodies and to minimise the level of water pollution. Such policies include “Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994”, “Water Act 1989”, as well as the “Heritage River Act 1992”. Simultaneously, government is trying to supply water from different sources, so that it can fulfill the increasing demand of drinkable water in Melbourne.

3. Part 2: Descriptive Summary
3.1 Proper Management of Environmental Health-related Issues

Environmental health-related issues in Melbourne are mostly originated by contaminated or polluted water bodies. Due to lack of awareness and supervision, different types of garbage, wastages and chemicals are disposed into water bodies, for which the level of water pollution is increasing overwhelmingly in Melbourne. Regarding the issue, NHS Health has appointed by the government of Australia in order to manage the pollution level of water and to monitor whether people of Melbourne are only getting fresh and drinkable water(Byleveldet al., 2016).NHS is working collaboratively with Australian government as WaterNHS. The main goal of WaterNHS is to assure that the management of water pollution is accomplished in an effective manner, and water bodies are protected by getting polluted. Such an initiative is acquired by WaterNHS, so that people in Melbourne can acquire fresh and drinkable water and can fulfill the demand of water for daily usage.

Apart from WaterNHS, the government is also looking forward to improve the quality of drinkable water, and in order to do so, several legislations and water protection policies have introduced from the end of government, such as the “Water Act 1994” (Salisbury, Head & Groom, 2017).Apart from that, the government is trying to protect the rivers and all the water bodies with the help of different legislations, such as the “Water Act 2007”, which helps in maintaining the quality of water, along with “Environment Protection Act 1993”. In addition, to prevent dumping of wastage in water bodies, Australian government has regulated different acts, such as “Environment Protection Act 1981 (Sea Dumping)”, which prevents dumping of wastage into seas and “Environment Protection Amendment Act 1986”. All these legislations and act regulated by the government is highly capable of managing environmental health-related issues occurred by water pollution.

3.2 Role of Existed Health Agencies, as well as Core Stakeholders, along with Different Communities to Establish Adequate Infrastructure
As the level of drinkable water is continuously down turning in Melbourne due to increasing water pollution, the government of Australia has acquired different initiatives to fulfill the needs of people regarding hygienic water and drinkable water. Government is trying to supply adequate water from different sources, so that it can fulfill the satisfaction level of people regarding fresh water. Considering this, government has developed strict “Australian Drinking Water-related Polices and Guidelines”, so that water pollution can be minimised in Melbourne(Sain& Dietrich, 2015). Additionally, Melbourne Water, as Australian company helps the government of Australia by monitoring the quality of supplied water by third parties. In this way, the quality of drinkable water remains appropriate.

This agency monitors which water is drinkable and which is not. Also, the government has set some policies for controlling the quality of the distributed water. Based on the “Framework for Management of Drinking Water Quality” as per the guidelines of Australian drinking water, quality of the water should be monitored before distributing the water throughout Melbourne.

4. Recommendations on Fulfilling the Gaps of Policies, Governmental Legislations and Regulations for Maintaining Certain Environmental Health-related Issues of Water Australian government’s initiatives to reduce water pollution and to control environmental health-related issues among the people of Melbourne is quite effective. However, the cooperation of agencies and government’s measures are not efficient enough to reduce the level of water pollution in the city. Thus, some of the recommendations are listed here, which will help to reduce water pollution and will improve the current condition of water, so that people can drink water from these sources.

I. First of all, awareness should be spread among the people of Melbourne. If people become aware about the reasons of water pollution and its effects on health, they will certainly try to stop throwing garbage or wastages into water bodies (Furlong, Gan & De Silva, 2016). In that case, different agencies and non-governmental organisations should campaign different awareness programmes in Melbourne.

II. The government should strict their legal and environmental policies and legislations, so that it prevents chemical disposals from factories. Every industry should follow such policies if they want to operate their business in Melbourne. By making strict policies, the factories will be aware before disposing chemicals and wastages into water bodies, or else, government will take strict action against the industries.

III. Also, the “Water and Rivers Commission” should monitor and check the quality of water from different bodies frequently. By doing so, the commission will be able to check whether there is any inorganic element situated or not, or if the water can be drinking(Porter et al., 2015). In this manner, water pollution can be monitored and minimised.

5. Conclusion
On the basis of the DPSEEA model of WHO, different factors have been identified those are associated with water pollution. The amount of population is constantly enhancing in Melbourne, and it has become an essential factor for water pollution. People unconsciously throws different wastages and non-disposable objects into water, which slowly contaminate the water bodies. Due to such behaviour, the level of drinkable water is decreasing widely in Melbourne. Without water, living creatures cannot survive, and thus, people forcefully drink such polluted water, and as a result, they suffer from different hazardous diseases. In order to increase the amount of drinkable water in Melbourne and to reduce the amount pollution, Australian government has taken different initiatives, which will also help Melbourne’s people to fulfill their needs of water. In order to help the government, WaterNSW is trying to distribute drinkable water among the people of Melbourne.?

References
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Byleveld, P., Leask, S., Jarvis, L., Wall, K., Henderson, W., & Tickell, J. (2016). Safe drinking water in regional NSW, Australia. Public Health Res. Pract, 26(2), e2621615. https://www.phrp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/PHRP-26-02-01-Drinking1.pdf

Furlong, C., Gan, K., & De Silva, S. (2016). Governance of integrated urban water management in Melbourne, Australia. Utilities Policy, 43, 48-58.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jup.2016.04.008

Gude, V. G. (2017). Desalination and water reuse to address global water scarcity. Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology, 16(4), 591-609.https://www.academia.edu/35712343/Desalination_and_water_reuse_to_address_global_water_scarcity

Hurlimann, A., & Wilson, E. (2018). Sustainable urban water management under a changing climate: The role of spatial planning. Water, 10(5), 546.https://doi.org/10.3390/w10050546

Khan, S. J., Deere, D., Leusch, F. D., Humpage, A., Jenkins, M., & Cunliffe, D. (2015). Extreme weather events: Should drinking water quality management systems adapt to changing risk profiles?. Water research, 85, 124-136.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S004313541530169X?via%3Dihub

Liu, Y., Zhang, J., & Zhao, Y. (2018). The risk assessment of river water pollution based on a modified non-linear model. Water, 10(4), 362.https://doi.org/10.3390/w10040362 O’Bryan, K. (2019). The changing face of river management in Victoria: The Yarra River protection (Wilip-gin Birrarungmurron) Act 2017 (Vic). Water International, 44(6-7), 769-785.https://doi.org/10.1080/02508060.2019.1616370

Porter, M. G., Downie, D., Scarborough, H., Sahin, O., & Stewart, R. A. (2015). Drought and Desalination: Melbourne water supply and development choices in the twenty-first century. Desalination and Water Treatment, 55(9), 2278-2295.

Sain, A. E., & Dietrich, A. M. (2015). Rethinking aesthetic guidelines for manganese and iron in drinking water. Journal of Water Supply: Research and Technology—AQUA, 64(7), 775-782. https://iwaponline.com/aqua/article-abstract/64/7/775/29257/Rethinking-aesthetic-guidelines-for-manganese-and?redirectedFrom=fulltext

Salisbury, C., Head, B. W., & Groom, E. (2017). Australian Urban Water Reform Story: with Detailed Case Study on New South Wales. World Bank. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/ad40/f4b2434eae22fe46f081ef01355108224f65.pdf?_ga=2.37961440.2117585445.1605119482-968181435.1601741300 Schweitzer, L., &Noblet, J. (2018). Water contamination and pollution. In Green chemistry (pp. 261-290). Elsevier.https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-809270-5.00011-X

Stedile, N. L. R., Schneider, V. E., Nunes, M. W., &Kappes, A. C. (2018). Application of the DPSEEA Model to Healthcare Waste Management. Ciencia&saudecoletiva, 23, 3683-3694.https://doi.org/10.1590/1413-812320182311.19352016

The Sidney Morning Herald, (2018). China's import ban shakes up plastic waste war. [Online] Retrieved from https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/china-s-import-ban-shakes-up-plastic-waste-war-20180908-p502lw.html [Accessed on 16th Apr 2021]

Wright, I. A., Paciuszkiewicz, K., &Belmer, N. (2018). Increased water pollution after closure of Australia’s longest operating underground coal mine: a 13-month study of mine drainage, water chemistry and river ecology. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 229(3), 1-20.https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11270-018-3718-0

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