One central feature of human beings today is that they believe they can manage the toughest of situations. But the truth is, there’s a limit to engineering, innovation and management skills.
Usually, our bodies reminds us of that limit. During the lockdown, there was much talk about mental health.
It is true-seeing the rapid spread of Covid-19, lives lost, including people we know and the terror of being attacked, coupled with economic slowdown, has been terrifying for most people.
It is only natural that many more people will be hit by mental health concerns.
There’s one thing we should be aware of, however : the role of toxins in mental health. Heavy metals like Mercury, Lead and Arsenic and some pesticides, for example, have a known role to play in this matter. They add to the chemical burden of our brain and impact it in specific, deleterious ways, such as depression and anxiety.
Covid-19 has helped India to open up about mental health. Of the many things we need to do, tightening regulations around toxics and public information is one.
What we have to do is to strengthen our toxics reduction regime.
We’ve got to phase out all three within a time period-many developing countries already have. In India, most paints and petrol have dumped lead. Dental amalgams are slowly shifting. But there’s a lot of work ahead. The Pesticides continue to be widely available which must be phased out. Reducing our toxicity load is one way to build our resilience ahead.
(The writer is the founder and director of Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group)