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How Open Defecation Affects Human Health and Environment and its Solutions


Open defecation is the empting of bowels in the open without the use of properly designed structures built for handling of human waste such as toilets. Open defecation is particularly associated with rural and poverty stricken regions of the world, especially Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Open defecation statistics from around the world have shown a statistical relationship between the regions that have the highest percentage of those that do not use toilets or other human waste facilities and low education or poverty. The World Bank Statistics suggest that regions with high rates of open defecation experiences tremendous problem in terms of sanitation and proper waste management.

open-defecation-pandharpur

According to Wikipedia,

Open defecation is the human practice of defecating outside—in the open. In lieu of toilets, people use fields, bushes, forests, open bodies of water or other open space. The practice is common where sanitation infrastructure is not available. About 892 million people, or 12 percent of the global population, practice open defecation.

Reasons for Open Defecation

The reasons that have been given for people who don’t use toilets have either been poverty that makes it a challenge to build latrines or lack of government support in providing such facilities. In cases where the toilets are available but people still end up preferring opened defecation, the reasons can extend to cultural issues related with sharing toilets among family members.

An example is a case where it is forbidden for a man to share the same toilet with his daughter in law. In some other cases, people end up preferring open air defecation due to the freedom it gives them as opposed to using a small dark structure or the displeasure in using toilets that are filthy or not clean.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), India accounts for 59 per cent of the 1.1 billion people in the world who practice open defecation leading to some serious negative effects on both their own health and the environment. Let’s look at the how open defecation affects human health and the environment

Effects on Human Health

1. Water borne diseases

Diarrhoea and other problems associated with the ingesting and exposure to human waste affect children under the age of 5 years the most since they are very susceptible to diseases. This exposure is because most of open defecation happens next to water ways and rivers. In urban areas, this can include the drainage systems that are usually meant to traffic rain water away from urban areas into natural water ways.

Such areas are often preferred because open defecators have a belief that the water washes away their waste. What they seem to forget is that most of such areas are not properly empowered to treat the water to remove human waste and the microbes that move with it. Such a practice is contrary to proper sewage channels that treats waste black water and channel it into water systems free of any disease causing germs afterwards.

Therefore, the result of open defecation near water ways is that it is carried into the water system minus treatment. As a consequence, the contaminated water ends up in the main water source. When people in these regions use the water as it for drinking and cooking (since the water is not boiled most of the time because of poverty and lack of education) it results in water borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and trachoma.

2. Vector borne diseases

Apart from water borne diseases, when the human waste collects into heaps, it attracts flies and other insects. These flies then travel around the surrounding areas, carrying defecate matter and disease causing microbes, where they then land on food and drink that people go ahead and ingest unknowingly. In such cases, the flies act as direct transmitters of diseases such as cholera.

3. Compounding the problem of disease exposure

The saddest fact about disease transmission caused by open defecation is the cyclic nature of problems that then begin to manifest. The most common diseases caused by this unsanitary act are increased cases of diarrhoea, regular stomach upsets and poor overall health. With diarrhoea, for instance, it means that people cannot make their way to distant places due to the urgency of their calls of nature, so they pass waste close to where they have their bowel attacks.

It simply ends up creating more of the same problems that started the disease in the first place and in turn, leads to more people catching diseases and less people using the facilities. The result of this is more sick people and more opportunities for the disease to spread.

4. Malnutrition in children

Malnutrition in children is another health problem associated with open defecation. Once a child is a victim of one of the diseases passed on due to the lack of proper sanitation and hygiene, they begin to lose a lot of fluids and lack of appetite for food. As a result, it gives rise to many cases of malnutrition in children.

Also, the situation is worsened by intestinal worm attacks passed through the human refuse. Altogether, these problems lead to stunted growth and weakened immune system that makes the child more susceptible to other diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.

Effects on the Environment

1. Contamination via microbes

The environment also suffers as a result of open defecation because it introduces toxins and bacteria into the ecosystem in amounts that it cannot handle or break down at a time. This leads to build up of filth. Also, the load of microbes can become so great that in the end, they end up in aquatic systems thereby causing harm to aquatic life.

At the same time, it can contribute to eutrophication or the formation of algal blooms that form disgusting scum on the surface of the water ways which disturb aquatic life underneath the water by preventing oxygen and light diffusion into the water.

2. Visual and olfactory pollution

Heaps of human or just the sight of it cause eyesore and nauseate anyone who is close. The stink emanating from the refuse is also highly unappealing and pollutes the surrounding air. Such places also attract large swarms that make the area completely unattractive for the eye.

For all those unfortunate to see the regions affected, it creates a sorry sight and reduces the dignity of all those living in the squalor of those regions. The smells augment the problem by disgusting those who live within the affected regions making life awful.

Solutions of Open Defecation

To solve this issue, it takes the action of individuals and even the intervention of the government to address the cultural, economic and social challenges in tandem.

1. Provision of toilets

First, there is a need to ensure that there are enough toilets. Since these regions are usually very poor, it will take the efforts of the government as well as the good will of local organisations such as CBOs and NGOs to help fix the problem. Construction of pit latrines and other toilet options such as compost toilets is necessary to help deal with the problem of lacking sewer systems. Governments should also try to establish incentives for people to build their own toilets by providing subsidies and putting up public toilets in strategic locations. 

2. Corrective civil education

Another platform that needs to be addressed is the negative cultural association that people have with toilets. The people should be informed and given civic education to enable them break away from their cultural beliefs on issues such as the fact that toilets are not supposed to be shared.

In other words, cultural norms and beliefs must be changed over time through education and awareness creation. With time, people can become informed and drop the beliefs or at least adjust and make concessions about the ones that are most destructive.

3. Incentivise public hygiene participation

By creating government programs that encourage sanitation and personal hygiene, individuals must be involved and forced to take up the responsibility of enhancing their hygiene as well as overall health.

Through such programs, people can get to learn the importance of their environments and work towards ensuring that they do not harm themselves by partaking in open defecation. It eventually reduces healthcare burdens on the government and lessens the number of those who practice open defecation as it will be seen as a terrible activity.

Image credit: flickr

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Types, Importance and Examples of Ecology?


Ecology is a branch of biology concerned with understanding how organisms relate with each other and their environment. This branch of biology mainly deals with the relationships between the organisms, their relationships among each other, their relationships towards the shared resources, their relationships with the space they share, and even their relationships with the non-living aspects in the environment.

In understanding the given relationship, ecology encompasses aspects such as population growth, competition, symbiotic ecologic relationships (mutualism), trophic relations (energy transfer from one section of the food chain to the next), biodiversity, migration and physical environment interactions. Because ecology includes all the living organisms on earth and their physical as well as chemical surroundings, it is divided into several categories which bring about different types of ecology as discussed below:

seedling-soil-green-plant-ecology

Types of Ecology

1. Microbial Ecology

Microbial ecology looks at the smallest fundamental levels of life, that is, the cellular level. It involves mainly the first two life kingdoms which are; Kingdom Monera and Kingdom Protista. Here, the connections are made between microbes and their relationships with each other and their environments.

Microbial ecology is particularly important in the analysis of evolutionary connections and events leading to existence (known as phylogeny). These connections help us understand the relationships shared among organisms. It is particularly interested in DNA and RNA structures as they carry most of the information passed along from organisms to their progeny, providing the data ecologists need.

2. Organism/Behavioural Ecology

This is the study of the organism at its fundamental levels and can encompass microbial ecology. In this type of ecology, the main goal is to understand the organism’s behaviours, adaptations for such behaviours, reason for those behaviours as explained through the lens of evolution, and the way all these aspects mesh together.

In this case, the main concern is the individual organism and all its different nuances, especially in trying to understand how it all ties together to enhance the survival of the organism or any beneficial adaptations.

3. Population Ecology

Population ecology is the next rank on the ecological ladder. Population ecology focuses on the population, defined as a group of organisms of the same species living in the same area at the same time. Here, attention is given to things such as population size, its density, the structure of the population, migration patterns, and the interaction between organisms of the same population.

It tries to explain the different changes in each of the dynamics of the population such as why numbers would increase and whether this affects any other aspects of the population such as its density.

4. Community Ecology

Community ecology takes a look at the community, defined as all the populations that live in a given area. This includes all the different species populations. The focus here is usually on the interactions between the different species and how their numbers and sizes all mesh together and how change in one population change the dynamic of the whole community.

The animal populations here are exposed to more complex interactions given their increased species numbers which give rise to dynamics such as trophic relationships (who eats who), space dynamics, migration patterns and the most important ecological driving force when it comes to inter/intra species interaction.

5. Ecosystem Ecology

Ecosystem ecology makes a unique contribution to understanding ecology by adding abiotic (non-living) factors to the items analysed, alongside the biotic (living) factors involved. This interaction therefore involves all aspects of the environment and how they interact.

It includes understanding how things like climate and soil composition affect the behaviours and interactions of populations from different species. It also includes a wide range of factors to better understand the whole aspect of interaction between the living things and their environments/habitats.

6. Global Ecology (Biosphere)

The global ecology is principally important in understanding all the ecosystems affecting the entire globe. This includes all the different biomes, with considerations of aspects such as climate and other environmental geography.

It means, global ecology takes into account the whole world’s biosphere while considering all living organisms from the microscopic to higher lifeforms, the environments they leave in, the interactions that they have with each other, the influences that their environments have on these interactions and vice versa, and finally, how they are all interconnected under the common ground that they all share a single planet – the Earth.

Importance of Ecology

The study of ecology is important in ensuring people understand the impact of their actions on the life of the planet as well as on each other. Here are the reasons why ecology is important:

1. It helps in environmental conservation

Ecology allows us to understand the effects our actions have on our environment. With this information, it helps guide conservation efforts by first showing the primary means by which the problems we experience within our environment begin and by following this identification process, it shows us where our efforts would have the biggest effect.

Ecology also shows individuals the extent of the damage we cause to the environment and provides predictive models on how bad the damage can get. These indicators instil a sense of urgency among the population, pushing people to actively take part in conservation efforts and ensure the longevity of the planet.

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2. Ensures proper resource allocation

Ecology equally allows us to see the purpose of each organism in the web of connectivity that makes up the ecosystem. With this knowledge, we are able to ascertain which resources are essential for the survival of the different organisms. This is very fundamental when it comes to assessing the needs of human beings who have the biggest effect on the ecosystem.

An example is human dependency on fossil fuels that has led to the increase of carbon footprint in the ecosystem. It is ecology that allows humans to see these problems which then calls for the need to make informed decisions on how to adjust our resource demands to ensure that we do not burden the environment with demands that are unsustainable.

3. Enhances energy conservation

Energy conservation and ecology is connected in that, it aids in understanding the demands different energy sources have on the environment. Consequently, it is good for decision making in terms of deciding resources for use as well as how to efficiently convert them into energy.

Without proper understanding of energy facts through ecology, humans can be wasteful in their use of allotted resources such as indiscriminate burning of fuels or the excessive cutting down of trees. Staying informed about the ecological costs allows people to be more frugal with their energy demands and adopt practices that promote conservation such as switching of lights during the day and investing in renewable energy.

4. Promotes eco-friendliness

With all the information and research obtained from ecology, it ultimately promotes eco-friendliness. It makes people aware of their environment and encourages the adoption of a lifestyle that protects the ecology of life owing to the understanding they have about it.

This means that in the long-term, people tend to live less selfishly and make strides towards protecting the interest of all living things with the realization that survival and quality life depends on environment sustainability. Hence, it fosters a harmonious lifestyle and assures longevity for all organisms.

5. Aids in disease and pest control

A great number of diseases are spread by vectors. The study of ecology offers the world novel ways of understanding how pests and vectors behave thereby equipping humans with knowledge and techniques on how to manage pests and diseases.

For example, malaria which is one of the leading killer diseases is spread by the female Anopheles mosquito. In a bid to control malaria, humans must first understand how the insect interacts with its environment in terms of competition, sex, and breeding preferences. The same applies to other diseases and pests. By understanding the life cycles and preferred methods of propagation of different organisms in the ecosystem, it has created impressive ways to device controls measures.

Examples of Ecology

Examples of ecology are simply aspects that seek to study how the various types of ecology come about. For instance, the study of humans and their relationship with the environment gives us human ecology. Alternatively, studying a food chain in a wetland area gives wetland ecology while the study of how termites or other small organisms interact with their habitat brings about niche construction ecology. Here are two basic examples to elaborate examples of ecology in details.

1. Human ecology

This aspect of ecology looks at the relationship between humans and the ecosystem as a whole. It is centred on human beings, studying their behaviour and hypothesises the evolutionary reasons why we might have taken up some traits.

Emphasis is placed on this due to the impact human beings have on the environment and it also gives us knowledge about the shortcomings of the entire human population and how to better ourselves for our own sake and that of the environment.

2. Niche construction

Niche construction is an example of ecology dealing with the study of how organisms are able to alter their environment for their benefit and also for the benefit of other living things. It is of particular interest to ecologists who desire to understand how some organisms overcome the challenges presented to them.

A prime example is how termites are well organized and equipped to erect mound that stand over 6 feet tall while at the same time protecting and feeding their entire population. In going about their niche, ants also recycle nutrients for plants. This presents a good example of ecology because it is all about evolution and other several aspects regarding population, community and ecosystem ecology.

Image credit: pixabay , pexels

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

20+ Shocking Food Waste Facts of America


Food waste is one of the issues currently facing the planet as a whole. America in particular tends to have a serious food waste problem because its consumerism is largely at the retail level compounded by the fact that the majority of Americans are more conversant with finished goods rather than the actual produce.

America therefore has a very high rate of food waste because people have developed a habit of buying excess food than what is actually needed or eaten per meal time. This article seeks to list 20+ shocking food waste facts about America.

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1. The total food waste realized in America is as high the food produced in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa relies on irrigation and minimal rainfall to ensure crops grow to maturity before harvest. After a series of short and long rainfall, there is produce realized which is fairly equal to the food waste of the whole of America.

2. More than a third of food produced in America becomes food waste. This is caused by the unconscious or conscious state of throwing food away as waste. Snacks half eaten as well as excess food purchased but not finished leads to the alarming percentage of food waste.

3. Food waste in America is realized at the consumer level. Most Americans eat at home, buy snacks or eat at a restaurant which is perfectly okay. However, food left on plates or the leftover burger or fries contribute to heightened food wastes.

4. In 2010, the largest component of municipal solid waste from garbage bins was food waste. The dumping of food is becoming rampant which is sad since there are people who still reside in the same country who lack adequate food.

5. America is home to the largest share of the 1.4 billion overweight adults in the world. This is quite ironic. America has the largest food waste in terms of metric tons and still, has the highest number of individuals who suffer from obesity and being overweight. It simply translates to a stalemate because in one household, there is overconsumption of food while in another; food is wasted and goes down the garbage bin.

6. Food waste in America is approximately at 50 million tons annually. The garbage collected in America is full of food waste from the American households which contributes to pollution, effective landfill management problems, and is hazardous to the environment. Most of these food wastes are in plastic bags and containers thus contributing to plastic pollution.

7. High levels of perishable food wastes in American farm leads to lower consumption. In a case where the farm produce goes bad in the farm or in the store, there is a high likelihood that there is reduced willingness to purchase the produce. This leads to a decrease in the consumption of vegetables and fruits which constitute the majority of vitamins and metals which are essential in human diets.

8. Most Americans realize there is a food waste problem but do not acknowledge that they are part of the problem. A large percentage of the American population is aware that the rate of increase of food waste is at an alarming rate. Nevertheless, they do not realize that the little acts they do goes a long way towards food waste, that is, buying food in excess and then throwing away what remains.

9. One in seven people is faced with food insecurity in America. The common stereotype is that food insecurity is only in third world countries and that in developed countries, there is sufficient food and wealth. This may not be the case in America. One in about seven people relies on the government through feeding programs translating to roughly 50 million people. Beside, the affected people are unable to provide for their families as a whole and so have to seek food stamps to survive.

10. A lot of the food waste realized comes from over-purchasing. Individuals buy items in bulk which is okay but fail to see the expiry date which then warrants the disposal of the already bad food, leading to wastes. In order to avoid this, in the case of bulk buying, then there should be effective means of storage like freezers and keen review of expiry dates.

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11. There is loss of 650 pounds of food between the farm and the dining table. Normally, an individual should consume about 2000 pounds of food annually to stay healthy. Yet, there is a loss of pounds therein. This happens when there is poor storage of produce in the farm, stores and at home. Farm produce may overstay in the farm or the store and due to the high level of perishability, it goes bad.

12. About 20% of the farm produce is rejected in the retail stores due to poor quality standards. Farm produce that does not meet the set quality checks such as shape, color and packaging is normally removed from the stores. The result is loss of food that is suitable for human consumption. In light of this predicament, there are stores that are ready to accept the farm produce that has been rejected to salvage the produce and minimize food wastes.

13. In America only, about 25% of water is wasted because of food waste. Water is a scarce resource which should be utilized. In the course of farm produce, there is water that is constantly used for irrigation which would be termed as wasted if the farm produce is itself in the end, termed as wasted. In addition, there is a lot of water left running in taps during food preparation which leads to massive wastage of water in the long run.

14. There is a loss of about 640 billion dollars realized from food waste every year in America. The figure is alarmingly large which begs the need to save food and consume what one can consume.

15. About a half of Americans take home the left overs they left in the restaurants. This should be encouraged since this translates to less loss of food. In consequence of this, more individuals should seek to take back what they have left on dinner tables in restaurants in order to take it again, or to recycle the leftover. In the end, there is no food waste.

16. 40% of food in America is never consumed. This is brought about by the fact that there are certain crops which are majorly produced by America and are mainly exported to other countries. In the end, there is minimal consumption of the particular crop in the country. For instance, despite America being the largest producers of maize, most of it used for export and people still go hungry in the same country.

17. In 30 years’ time, the average calorie consumption will be at 3070 up from the current 2000. This is warranted by the fact that the current population consumes a lot of food which has brought about a heightened level of overconsumption. The increase is also attributed to the growth of the number of obese and overweight individuals in America since the 21st With the current trend, year 2050 will be graced by a lot of obesity which may lead to overconsumption.

18. Food wastes have led to an increase in the per capita income. The wastes in food translate to money loss when it comes to the American economy. In about 40-50 years, the per capita income has been on the rise owed to the fact that the rate of food waste is increasing annually.

Moreover, the population is still steadily growing and as such, the number of individuals who are obese and overweight is also on the increase. As a result, the government has to invest a large chunk of the financial budget on food and the amount keeps increasing annually.

19. America has realized that food wastes can be an avenue for creating value on other sectors of the economy. American has realized that wasted food can provide compost which can be converted to give energy. Wasted food can also be processed into animal feeds in the agricultural sector. With such initiatives, compost can be used for energy production and animal feeds can support the agricultural sector.

20. Food waste in America produces billions of tons of carbon dioxide, augmenting global climate change. Emissions related to food waste considering production, transportation and processing of food in America simply translate to worsening of climate change and increased global warming.

21. There are millions of individuals who reside in America who face malnutrition. Those that are not privileged enough to have a constant supply of food end up facing this nutritional disorder. It is for this reason that feeding programs exist.

References: TheDailyMeal
Image credit: pixabay, flickr

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Environmentally Friendly Denmark [Infographic] – Conserve Energy Future


Since I live in Denmark, I am surprised how to deal with food waste. Most supermarkets have very high last hour discounts (up to 80%) and often give free food at the end of the day, so as to avoid waste.

Not only supermarkets are aware of the waste of food, but also schools, since 2013, they spend time teaching their students everything they need to know about food waste. This means that for them it is equally important to learn math and take care of the planet. Thus, the parents of the future have learned from a very early age to not waste the food.

In addition to teaching them the theory of food waste, they take them to farms and factories so they can see where the food comes from and how it is produced. This has not only an educational purpose, but also seems very fun for the student as they interact and learn things.

At the same time, Denmark is far ahead from other countries when it comes to organic food and most of the supermarkets’ products are organic.

Thanks to campaigns based on promoting organic food and food waste, Danes have managed to get rid of “non-organic” products, regardless of the price of new organic products, and this has been addressed by introducing all organic products as ” luxury”. We all love luxury things, and even more when they contribute to our health and the health of our planet.

What makes them even more aware, is their new application called ‘ToGoodToGo’. With this application, restaurants and supermarkets register foods that they will not use so that the users can fill their basket with everything they need for only 20 or 40 kr. As a result, the loss of food is reduced in great results. People who spend less always have good food in the table, for less money.

Author

Grace Cook – Marketing Manager in Trendhim

Environmentally friendly Denmark infographic

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly [Infographic]


Every homeowner should seek to improve the eco-friendliness of their residence and the reasons for this are numerous. The obvious benefit is to the environment, with reduced energy usage and waste output, plus a greater focus on renewable resources. An eco-conscious approach also helps to save money, as lower energy usage means lower utility bills, with the savings accumulating nicely over time. Plus, making a commitment to eco-friendly living often brings a sense of self-satisfaction at doing your bit to help the environment.

If you would like to make your home more eco-friendly, there are numerous ways in which to do it, many of which are very simple and inexpensive to implement. When purchasing light bulbs, choose LED bulbs with a low wattage that will last for much longer than incandescent lights. Also, get into the habit of switching off lights when leaving a room. A lot of energy is wasted from blindly leaving a room lit up when it is unoccupied for several hours.

Another change that’s very easy to enact is to use appliances more efficiently. When doing your laundry, wait until the pile of clothes takes up almost a full load in your washing machine before putting on a wash. Likewise, only use your dishwasher when it is nearly full to the brim with cups, plates, pots and pans. By taking this approach, you’re helping to save both water and energy.

For those who are very dedicated to having an environmentally friendly home, it is well worth considering the installation of solar panels on your roof. This is a great way to allow plenty of natural light to enter your home, cutting back on the need for artificial lighting while also helping to provide heat to your home. Speaking of heat, a lot of it can escape through infrastructural gaps and hollow walls. If you find it difficult to heat your home, it could be worth investing in insulation so that your walls don’t let heat escape so readily. Simple measures such as keeping your curtains drawn at night also help to combat heat loss.

In the infographic below from EZ Living Interiors (http://www.ezlivinginteriors.com/), you can find out many more ways in which you can improve your home’s eco-friendliness, saving yourself money and helping the environment in the process.

Make-Your-Home-More-Eco-Friendly-IE

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

11 Greenest Countries on Earth in 2017


The world is making advancements towards becoming green especially for environmentally conscious nations as they work hard to develop their economies. Industries have been set up, people have ventured into real estate, and governments are constantly making great milestones in the health, education, energy and transportation sectors. These developments have allowed countries to provide a better economy and life to its citizens.

However, this does not come without consequences to the environment. Global warming and environmental degradation is one of the impacts faced. The environment is thus at a risk, particularly with the increase in the number of production industries, expansion of modern transport and residential developments. Despite these environmental risks that come with development, there are countries that have worked hard to reduce them and keep their environment green. Here are 11 countries that have been termed as the greenest in 2017:

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1. Iceland

Iceland is one of the countries that takes its environment very seriously and invests in its sustainability. It has been graded as one of the greenest countries in world. Besides, it has been in the fore front in the implementation of programs that are eco-friendly. It boasts of an Environmental Performance index of 93.5.

It has placed focus on production of electricity and heat by utilizing geothermal landscapes. Iceland has also played a major role in the fight against ocean pollution. It has made sure that the waters are kept clean and fishing is done while prioritizing on protecting the environment.

2. Switzerland

Switzerland is the second most greenest country in the world in 2017 with an Environmental Protection index of 89.1. It has put into place various measures to ensure that the environment is kept clean and at the same time sustainable. The setting up of Alpine park is one of the steps it took. Additionally, the country has focused on production of resources by using renewable energy, a move that promotes a green economy.

Switzerland has over the years made laws that have allowed farmlands to develop and prevent them from being used for infrastructural expansion. These contributions by the country has allowed it to be green as the natural environment has been kept safe. Clean air, beautiful lakes and mountains have been notable features that make it prominent.

3. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is popularly known for its amazing scenery and equally intriguing landscape. The green in its environment is clearly evident at first glance. It boasts an Environmental Protection Index of 86.4. The country has put stern measures to avoid both air and water pollution and hoping to achieve a carbon neutral environment by the year 2021.

The citizens of the country use renewable energy in order to avoid the production of greenhouse gases. Costa Rica hopes to be the first carbon neutral country in the world and is constantly seeking for funding to make this possible. Other than being one of the greenest countries in the world, Costa Rica is also considered to be one with the happiest people in it.

4. Sweden

Sweden is listed among the greenest countries in the world with an Environmental Protection Index of 86.0. The country plans on eradicating the use of fossil fuel by the year 2020. The move is meant to prevent environmental pollution. What’s more, they have embraced the use of renewable energy that is eco-friendly to keep the environment natural and safe from pollution.

The use of renewable energy greatly contributes to the reduction of carbon in the air thus a cleaner and safer environment. The most notable action is the partnership between Sweden and its neighboring countries, especially by taking responsibility to protect the Baltic Sea and protect the ecosystem. The environmental governance body in Sweden is amongst the most sound and this has contributed to the fact that Sweden has been kept green.

5. Norway

Norway is one of the counties in Europe that has a significantly green environment. It has an Environmental Protection Index of 81.1. The country has made sure that its residential and commercial facilities do not release any greenhouse gases to the environment. Like other countries, Norway has made sure that the whole country uses eco-friendly and renewable sources of energy so as to reduce the rate of pollution and carbon production.

Norway has put in place sustainable development strategies and environmental laws that are supposed to aid in realization of a carbon neutral country by the year 2030. Most interestingly, Norway cultivates a relationship with nature. Children from a tender age are taught on how to live together with nature and protect the environment. In addition, Norway uses ecological knowledge to keep its environment clean and safe.

6. Mauritius

Mauritius, a small island country in Africa, has played a major role in keeping its environment green. It has an Environmental Performance Index of 80.6. Mauritius being an island, has worked tirelessly to protect its ports. It has set up laws and protection acts that reduce the rate of pollution whilst promoting environmental protection.

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7. France

The contribution of Nicholas Sarkozy played a major role in making France one of the greenest countries in the world. He implemented legislations that made it mandatory for all of France to partake in making the country eco-friendly and to conserve energy. France has an Environmental Protection Index of 78.2. France has been endowed with very fertile grounds and is one of the top exporters of food. It is also makes wine thanks to the grape fields it has.

The country has less industries as compared to other countries and this has helped in the reduction of air pollution. Over the years, France has been working on deindustrialization – a move that has seen the environmental state of the country improve as water pollution has been reduced significantly. Additionally, France has vowed to change its resource usage and methods of production to conserve the environment.

8. Austria

Austria has an Environmental performance Index of 78.1. It achieves this Index by relentlessly striving to maintain the natural conditions of its environment. Among the major actions taken by Austria is putting environmental protection in its social and economic policy agenda.

Austria has also worked hard in sectors such as waste management and chemical as well as air pollution to prevent such pollutants from destroying the environment. Further, Austria has incorporated ecological knowledge in their agriculture to prevent pollution. This has been highlighted by the restriction on the use of pesticides. It has also put measures into place to protect its forest and reduce deforestation. All these have contributed to making it one of the greenest countries in the world.

9. Cuba

Cuba is not left behind among the countries ranked as the greenest in the world. This is evidenced considering its Environmental Protection Index of 78.1. Cuba has worked hard in keeping its environment green and safe by reducing the use of Pesticides on farmland since they are chemicals that negatively impact the environment.

The sea level has also been lowered to protect the soil from excessive salt that might destroy it. Environmental awareness is also taught in schools so that children can embrace it and practice it to sustain the environment.

10. Colombia

Colombia is a beautiful country that has been blessed with amazing sceneries and vegetation. Particularly, Colombia is endowed with the amazon forest, tropical rainforests and deserts. It also has thousands of species living in its ecosystem. Policies and regulations have equally been set up to protect the environment and preserve its biodiversity.

Despite the fact that they were initially accused of degrading their natural environment, they have worked tirelessly to regain the lost glory by making laws that favor the sustainability of the environment. It has an Environmental Performance Index of 76.8 and is ranked among the greenest countries in the world.

11. Finland

Finland finishes the top 11 list among the greenest countries in the world for the year 2017. In the 80’s, Finland was known for high scores of nitrogen emission and other activities that destroyed the environment. However, over the years, improvements have been noted as the country strives to restore its environment to its original state.

The body in charge of the environment in Finland has worked hard to make sure greenhouse gases are not produced and that the citizens in the country use renewable sources of energy for production. Wind power has greatly been made use of. According to Yale University’s annual Environmental Performance Index, Finland has planned to have more than half of its electricity coming from renewable sources of energy.

Image credit: pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

The Cost of Wasted Food [Infographic]


More food is being produced by the global economy now than has ever been before. With greater profit than at any time in history, you could be forgiven for thinking that feeding the world is no longer an issue. However, you’d be very wrong. In the UK and across the world, we are wasting more food than ever before.

The implications are not just financial. Humans, animals and the planet itself are affected.

  • The UK wastes the equivalent of 1.3 billion meals every year
  • YET, 590,000 people in the UK used food banks in 2016/17
  • £10 billion worth of food thrown away by households each year
  • BUT, 60% of people believe they never waste food

Financial Experts Money Guru have created an infographic that shows some of the shocking statistics on food wastage. It just how much change is needed.

Small changes can be incredibly effective. For example, the UK’s 19 million families currently throw away 24 million slices of bread every day, but if the whole loaf was utilized, the difference would be massive.

Unfortunately, the UK is not alone in having a food wastage problem. Developed countries across the globe contribute to a huge amount of food wastage. It’s a common misconception that the food industry is to blame, with major corporations chastised for their processes. However, research shows that the majority of food waste is attributable to households.

It’s time to think more about what individuals can do to cut down their own food wastage. So many everyday items get thrown away as soon as they pass the “sell by date”, when they could still be used. There are 2000 operating food banks in the UK and 8 million people are struggling to afford daily meals. There is clearly a massive imbalance and one we can all help to change.

The cost of food wastage

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

25+ Super Easy Ways to Begin Living a Minimalist Lifestyle


A minimalist lifestyle goes against the norm of the modern consumerist lifestyle. It is all about living on bare essentials, decluttering your life, and ensuring that you only take what you need. The case for living this lifestyle is the lessened stress that the reduced clutter gives.

Minimalists believe that once you get rid of the excesses that are dimmed normal in modern society, all you’re left with is space for the things that really matter to you. For anyone whose curios about living a stress free life, here are 25+ super easy ways to begin living a minimalist lifestyle.

landscape-tree-sunset

1. Do some research. If you’re reading this then you’re on the first step to living a wonderful minimalist life. While a lot of people may have heard about it, there are a lot of misconceptions associated with minimalism. It is therefore prudent to first understand what the lifestyle is all about.

Websites such as theminimalist.com offer wonderful guidelines into how to leave the lifestyle and even citing others who are living the lifestyle. In other words, learn as much as you can about the lifestyle and ensure you are clear of all the misconceptions.

2. Count your possessions to see what you appreciate most. You should take time to review all the things you have and own. This is not just an exercise in awareness of your material wealth, but the wealth of your whole being. It should also include reviewing your relationships.

Such reviews allows you to see what you have and appreciate its value (or lack thereof) and thus separate what you have into what is important, what you need and honestly, what you should or need to let go off. Ultimately, you’ll not need excess or be so much materialistic.

3. Reduce the clatter. Once you’ve counted what you have, you can then get to the useless stuff and get rid of it. Minimalism is primarily about living with what you only need. As an example, you really don’t need a car if public transport could serve as a sufficient alternative means. Taking out the unnecessary items from your life reduces both the waste and the mental effort that organizing those items take on you.

4. Decide what’s important. You need to identify only items with actual value to you. A lot of junk that we keep can be chalked up to ‘just in case I need this’ but I highly doubt that you’re going to need that empty ramen bowl you’ve been meaning to work into a DIY coffee table fixture for the past 8 months. If you can’t find an honest use for an item, get rid of it.

5. Get rid of the excess. On top of getting rid of the unnecessary, one should also get rid of the excess. For instance, you don’t really need many pots and pans nor do your pets need so many beds. Excess just uses up space that you could dedicate to something more important or leave empty. There is no need to fill every nook and cranny with an item from your travels or any other sort of things that only serves to draw the eye. The goal should be to have all your possessions serve a purpose and be functional.

6. Get goals. Minimalism is mainly a tool to achieve a happier lifestyle. Therefore, to begin living a minimalist lifestyle, it means you must have a goal. This can be anything from decreasing travelling or excessive spending to better your career or meet your personal goals. 

7. Stop making excuses. A minimalist lifestyle has downsides. It requires enough self-discipline and honesty to analyse items that offer no value beyond a purely aesthetic one. Luxuries and other excesses are to be avoided if they do not help serve a purpose. This can prove to be a challenge particularly for a person who is full of excuses.

8. Shop only for essentials. Minimalism doesn’t mean you stop shopping for goods and services. It maintains on only shopping for essentials. This is in order to ensure that they do not waste resources on the unnecessary. The result of this is that the people end up concentrating their efforts only on important endeavours geared towards them achieving their goals. 

9. Stop hoarding. Collecting unnecessary items eats into the space reserved for items that could better serve the individual. To combat this, it is important to avoid the collection of unnecessary items. Also, donate items that are not needed to those who would be better served by them.

10. Make plans. The best way to achieve goals is to ensure that there are plans set in place for achieving the goals. Plans are especially important to new minimalists as they have more space and time with the adoption of this new lifestyle. Making plans places the individual in the best position to achieve his goals and make use of the resources that minimalism provides.

11. Travel lightly. Every time you take a journey, just carry a few items to minimize baggage and wastage. Travelling lightly ensures you only move around with essential items and nothing more. For instance, you can pack only half the clothes you need.

12. Embrace multipurpose tools. Instead of using many tools that all serve different purposes, why not have a single tool that serves a multitude of purposes. This is the benefit that minimalists are encouraged to look for in all their items. Multipurpose tools conserve the space that could have been used up by having many tools to achieve the same goal. Why by a screw driver and a cork screw while the Swiss Army Knife comes with both tools in a compact design.

13. Less social media is a plus. Reducing clutter in a minimalist’s life also means reducing the amount of time wasted in consuming non-helpful information. While social media can be a powerful tool for communication and business, it mostly serves as a platform for people to share vain and otherwise non-helpful titbits about their lives that you as a minimalist will have no use for. Social media also encourages spending due to countless consumer targeted Ads.

14. Digitize everything. Books and papers can be cumbersome and space consuming. However, digital formats for data and information can sit in your multipurpose tool and allow you hold a much larger batch as compared to actual physical text. It helps if you start getting as much digital content as you can. E-books, online newspapers, music downloads instead of CDs, all these help ensure that you do not fill your personal space with unnecessary clutter.

15. Borrow whatever you don’t need to buy. While it may be nice to own you own items, minimalists are encouraged to instead borrow items that they would use instead of buying them. This reduces the number of possessions they have and helps ensure they do not rack up clutter or hoard items. As long as you keep the borrowed items safe and the lender doesn’t mind sharing, prefer to borrow items instead of buying them.

16. Always choose quality over quantity. This is for the simple fact that quality items last longer than cheap alternatives. Whenever you decide to buy an item, buy one with the highest quality available. It will last you longer and ensure that you do have to keep replacing it and piling up trash.

environment-nature-tree

17. Budget your time. Just as you budget your resources, budget your time. Ensure that all the things you endeavour to do are geared towards edifying you. Do not do things for the just for the sake of it but enjoy whatever time you spend doing something.

18. Delegate as much as possible. As often as possible, value your time and ensure that all tasks that can be executed by someone else are given to someone else. This is so as to give the minimalist more time to execute the tasks more important to them or those that the minimalist is better equipped to perform.

19. Before getting an item, get rid of another. One good rule of thumb for the minimalist is to ensure that before making a purchase of something, get rid of any items already owned. This protects against clutter and the handling too many items.

20. Get rid of emotional clutter. Just as the physical clutter can eat into physical space, emotional clutter can eat up mental space. In a bid to live a minimalist lifestyle, avoid emotional baggage and instead find healthy outlets to ensure your mental state reflects your physical space.

21. Dissociate value from material things. In becoming a good minimalist, one needs to stop placing too much value on material possessions. This is only achievable by placing importance on essential materials.

23. Eat simple and healthy foods. The minimalist lifestyle extends to eating habits. One should eat foods that meet nutrition standards and try not to over indulge in unnecessarily expensive foods. The foods should also be simple enough to prepare.

24. Decide to live a better life. The whole point of minimalist living is to facilitate happier, more satisfied living. The minimalist needs to work on doing exactly this by embracing more beautiful aspects of living and avoiding wasting time on enjoying pleasures don’t add value to quality of life.

25. Create a savings account. Financial freedom is part of minimalism. Having a savings account and regularly sending money to the account encourages you to continue even living a more minimalist lifestyle because it will ensure you cut out needless subscriptions and expenses. Plus, it will make you more financially stable.

26. Dress with less. Having few shoes, clothes and accessories may sound extreme but it is a good way to begin living a minimalist lifestyle. It makes life less complex and reduces clutter in your wardrobe.

27. Enjoy the journey of living a minimalist lifestyle. Finally, once you’ve adopted or decided to live a minimalist lifestyle, appreciate the little things you have and always live every single day thanking yourself for the path you’ve taken.

Image credit: pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Smoking’s Effect on the Environment [Infographic]


We all know that smoking is harmful to the human body. We’re heavily warned against the effects; not only being taught of the hazards from an early age, cigarette boxes are now covered in cautionary images warning of any adverse effects that a consumer might incur. But a lesser known effect, and what many of us may have never even given a second thought to, is the major effects that smoking is having on the world around us.

From the sky down to the ground and sea, the production of cigarettes and second hand smoke are having detrimental effects on the environment. Although many of us are unaware of the process of how a cigarette came to be or the effects after it has gone – the environment is feeling the consequences.

With astonishing levels of land flattened for the growth of tobacco, chemicals must then be spread on this land, blazing furnaces are heated to cure the tobacco and huge volumes of the manufactured cigarettes are then shipped worldwide; causing colossal environmental effects before the cigarette has even been consumed.

Due to the huge scale of cigarette production, if these issues are not tackled now, devastating long term repercussions will ensue – including, but not limited to deforestation, desertification and water pollution.

After production, you might think the effects from the consumption of a cigarette are confined to the smoker themselves and those in their immediate surroundings, but this is not true. Not only do methane and carbon dioxide fill the atmosphere, but did you know that just one cigarette butt is enough to kill a fish living in a 1 liter container of water? Scary. And when approximately 3,216,991 cigarettes or cigarette butts were collected from beaches and inland waterways in 2009, you can see just how destructive smoking can be under the sea.

In this infographic, Grey Haze take a look at just how much damage smoking does to the environment and highlight some of the shocking statistics surrounding recklessly discarded cigarette butts too.

smoking-effect-on-the-evironment

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

4 Methods to Cut Fuel Spending [Infographic]


Nobody likes to feel as though they are spending too much money for something, especially if it’s something they have to buy. Fuel is one of the biggest costs for any vehicle owner or fleet operator and it can often be ones the biggest ownership costs. The prices in the fuel market are always fluctuating which means as an owner or fleet manager, you’re always at risk of sudden price hikes and increased overheads. This makes the financial side of vehicle management difficult and can make managing a budget tricky.

Despite the uncertainty of fuel prices, there are a number of strategies you can implement to reduce overall fuel costs and increase the financial efficiency of your vehicle or fleet. On average, 30% of a fleet’s running cost is taken up by fuel. This is a large proportion of your overheads so careful management could yield substantial cost savings.

Try the tips mentioned in below infographic to reduce the amount of money you are spending on fuel.

fuel saving tips infographic US

Credit: Chevinfleet

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)