Littered with Trash…



Nationally there are 2,632 landfills and 72 incinerators which handle much of the 250 million tons of trash produced in the United States each year. It is estimated that each of us generate nearly 4.4 pounds of garbage every day. Globally, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development calculates that 2.6 trillion pounds of trash are produced annually. In light of this most pressing problem, last week’s Supreme Court decision to sharply curtail the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to oversee power plants was particularly troublesome.

Obviously, the wellbeing of a given population is impacted by numerous factors. Most directly, the advances in therapeutics and medical technologies can have profound and almost immediate impacts. Improvements in general living conditions, including environmental, have a significant and perhaps less obvious influence on overall health. The promise of digital health innovation to inform, engage, activate users can also be quite dramatic, although may be limited when damaging environmental conditions persist. It is the confluence of all of these advances, supported by thoughtful responsive regulatory frameworks, that will lead to improved outcomes for all. Unfortunately, poor environmental conditions can overwhelm all of the other beneficial activities to improve health.

The EPA has been responsible for the implementation of the Clean Air Act for fifty years. This act to regulate fixed sources of air pollution reflected an emerging belief that public health was directly and profoundly impacted by environmental conditions, and that the infrastructure to manage issues such as waste was often sited in near (Read more...)