What Is the Definition of Environmental Sanitation?

Environmental sanitation refers to a collection of actions and policies aimed at improving or maintaining the standard of core environmental conditions affecting the well-being of people. These conditions include a clean and safe water supply, clean air, efficient and safe waste disposal procedures, protection of food from chemical and biological contaminants, and suitable housing in safe and clean surroundings.

Environmental sanitation comprises a set of actions geared towards improving living conditions, health conditions and the overall quality of life. Environmental sanitation includes treatment and disposal of human, industrial and animal waste, along with the control of disease vectors and the provision of restroom facilities for personal hygiene. For environmental sanitation to be effective, these practices must be instituted on a community and individual basis.

On a broad scale, environmental sanitation involves limiting the environmental contributors that spread disease, commercial food safety practices in public facilities such as farms and restaurants, hospital safety and efficient waste removal. On a smaller scale, it is the responsibility of the individual or head of household to instill effective personal hygiene practices.

Environmental sanitation is a critical public health issue in developing nations and impoverished urban areas. Areas that do not have access to clean water and/or do not engage in efficient waste removal and treatment practices are susceptible to widespread pollution and the proliferation of infectious diseases.