|M.Sc Student||Pinhasi Sigal|
|Subject||Interrelations between Health and Environment;|
Recommendations for "Green Medicine"
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Noemi Bitterman|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
While environmental issues are placed high on the public interest list, the environmental aspects of health care are somewhat neglected. As a result, a contradiction is formed, by which a system dedicated to public health & welfare, finds itself causing some of the illnesses it is required to deal with daily.
Since at least some of the ecological impact of our current health systems can be attributed to faulty design, a new challenge must be taken on now - the design of truly environmentally friendly products, procedures and systems.
This study aims to map the interrelationship between the healthcare system and the environment, highlight problematic issues in this regard, locate the best tools available for dealing with them, and suggest their implementation in the Israeli scenario. The research is based on a critical literature review and interviews with key figures in healthcare and environment. The literature research included documentation of effects of hospitals and healthcare facilities, drugs and medication, medical equipment, waste, etc. on the environment .Consequently; the situation in Israel was evaluated, in order to spot the possibilities for the reduction of environmental impacts of the healthcare system.
The approaches toward environmental issues in the literature can be divided into two categories: Downstream solutions - which attempt to minimize the damage to the environment, and whole, utopian approaches that re-invent the way people live and create, and aim for pollution prevention at the source. The most important among the later category are Cradle to cradle and Biomimicry.
A special challenge is set by the pharmaceutical industry. Toxic, persistent and bio-accumulative ingredients pharmaceuticals contain, reach water streams, upset the ecological balance and present a variety of health hazards.
In Israel, there is currently no comprehensive environmental policy concerning medical activity and health care issues.
Two design concepts are suggested for the reduction of pharmaceuticals' environmental impact:
· Green pharmaceuticals (drugs manufactured by means of green chemistry) packed in edible packaging.
· A "Drugomat" - a machine that provides a patient's weekly supply of prescription drugs according to the different doctor's prescriptions, arranged in individual trays in accordance with compliance requirements, with a special compartment for the return of unused and expired drugs.
Adopting design strategies based on Cradle to Cradle and Biomimicry, while promoting healthy living, Physical activity and pesticide free balanced nutrition, could lead to improved public health and diminish the environmental impact of the healthcare system.