05 Apr Cancer and the trees factor
Nature of the problem
Cancer remains one of the leading causes of death in Kenya and around the world. As we commemorate World Cancer Day this 4th February 2021, it is not lost on us the risk factors fueling this disease. More and more people keep falling prey to this deadly disease and if we do not check our habits and lifestyle, this deadly disease will continue to claim more people.
Cancer is caused by both internal factors such as inherited mutations, hormones, and immune conditions and environmental/acquired factors such as tobacco, diet, radiation, and pollution
Over the years an increasing number of chemicals and other environmental factors have been identified as leading causes of cancer. Air pollution, especially in urban areas, is a major contributor to the burden of this disease worldwide. Most of the global population that resides in urban areas, especially where air pollution levels are high because of emissions from industry, power generation, transportation, and domestic burning, are more likely to be exposed to cancer. Outdoor air pollution poses an urgent worldwide public health challenge because it is becoming more rampant and has numerous serious adverse human health effects, including cancer. It is no wonder that more people are now being diagnosed with this deadly disease
The overall well-being and safety of society generally have now been more at risk than it is right now. As more and more countries get industrialized, the problem of air pollution will continue to be experienced. People can however avoid some cancer-causing exposures, such as tobacco smoke and the sun’s rays. But things like toxic fumes are harder to avoid, especially if they are in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, or the materials we use to do our jobs.
Prevention of cancer through a healthy environment
If preventative measures were proactively taken to reduce the occurrence of cancer in our population, it is likely that cancer rates could be significantly reduced and trees have an important role to play in this. Aggressive planting of trees is a cause that everyone should be taking up if we require quality air to breathe in.
Trees are more than just beautiful – they provide an abundance of ecological services that are useful to humans; playing a significant role in mitigating the spread of some types of cancer like lung cancer. When cancer-causing toxic fumes are released into the air, especially from factories, it is the trees that purify the air we breathe every day.
Unfortunately, the world’s forest cover is shrinking by the day and the time is ripe for the world to initiate conversations and an all-inclusive approach to repopulate the forests of the world for the sake of humanity that heavily relies on trees. It is high time that the leaders and various stakeholders concerned reign in on those aiding in deforestation and find a way of sustaining forests and restoring the degraded ones. These are actions that require those concerned to be intentional about their approach to avoid the damaging consequences of deforestation.
The work that forests and trees in general do cannot be underscored. Simply put, trees are critical to livelihoods, and the more they are planted, the more humanity is guaranteed quality life on earth. We need to plant as many trees in the urban areas to reduce preventable causes of cancer resulting from exposure to toxins from industries. Who would have thought that the big tree you pass on your daily commute to work could do you so much good?
Tree planting is a powerful cause that our eco-friendly pencils advocate for. MOMO Pencils advocate for green manufacturing by creatively adding manufacturing value to recycled newspapers that they are produced from thereby promoting a sustainable living culture. Our legacy is to protect future generations.
The best way to avoid getting cancer is to adopt a healthy lifestyle and reduce exposure to harmful environmental factors as much as possible. If you know you will be around chemicals, it is always advisable to wear a mask. If you are going to be in the sun, the best practice is to always use sunscreen. If you live in an area that is constantly exposed to fumes and emissions, purposely plant trees around you to help purify the air you breathe in, as much as you can. You have the power to reduce your cancer risk by living healthier. On this World Cancer Day may we also remember that a healthy environment greatly contributes to a healthy lifestyle.