Role of environmental engineering in preventive medicine
Environmental engineering deals with the design, planning, and implementation of
processes that sustain and enrich the quality of human life. This aspect requires knowledge of
environmental health and public health. Key areas where environmental engineering is involved
include the design of water supply and wastewater treatment systems, solid waste disposal and
disposal of hazardous waste. To address challenges and issues in public health a
multidisciplinary approach is required. This will involve engineers, toxicologists, industrial
hygienists, and health physicists.
Despite the increase and advancement in technology employed to address public health
issues, new challenges continue to evolve because of climate change, increase in contamination
of groundwater, hazardous wastes, and degradation of air quality, which constantly affects
people and ecosystems. Different steps can be set up to control the transmission of diseases. For
instance, suitable living conditions have to be provided. Additionally, waste disposal and
collection from the residential units need to be done effectively. Thirdly, food products need to
be freed from contamination during different stages of preparation. Water for domestic use is of
good quality. Furthermore, environmental engineers can participate in educational workshops
and public campaigns where they sensitize the public on the importance of personal hygiene and
Water quality is an important component of environmental engineering. To achieve water
quality for domestic use, engineers adopt a number of ways to ascertain the water quality as a
measure of preventing diseases. The most common indicator is faecal coliforms. Faecal coliform
bacteria normally thrive in the intestinal tract of human beings and other warm-blooded animals.
Faecal coliforms are a set of coliforms that thrive in high temperatures of about 44.5 degrees
Celsius (Hagedorn, Blanch, and Harwood, 454). Coliforms are a good shore indicator since they
provide a workable index of sanitary water quality (National Research Council, 126). Swimming
in lake waters with an average coliform content of 2300 per 100 milliliters has been
demonstrated to cause a significant increase in illnesses (Salvato, Leonard, and Agardy, 1188). A
change in the levels of total coliforms in drinking water by more than 10 percent of the sampling
sites should be noted. This provides an idea of the changes of water quality that require the
necessary actions to be implemented.
Ecological engineering contributes to reducing the cost incurred in medical science.
There has been increased by technology and development in the medical field where waterborne
diseases can be cured. However, curing of the waterborne diseases does not give rise to any
reasonable control of the diseases if it is not followed and supported by weighty preventative
way. It makes no sense to address a person of a water-borne disease and release him or her to the
same environment where re-infection occurs. Thus, controlling and preventing waterborne
diseases by preventing means and methods is far more effective and far less costly than the
application of the curative approach. The preventative control of the water-borne diseases is
based on the environmental factors such as temperature, climate, topography, drainage, velocity
of water in streams, seepage properties of soil, safe drinking water supply, and adequate waste
disposal, all of which require competent application of suitable environmental engineering
practices in the control process. Thus, environmental engineering plays a major role in
prevention of water-borne and other environmentally related diseases.
Hagedorn, Charles, Ancient Blanch and Valerie Harwood.
Microbial Source Tracking: Methods,
Applications and Case Studies
. New York: Springer, 2011. Print.
Salvato, Joseph, Nelson Leonard Nemerow, and Franklin J.Agardy.
New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2003. Print.
National Research Council, U.S. Managing Troubled Waters:
The Role of Marine Environmental
. Washington: National Academic Press, 1990. Print.