1st Edition

Tackling Environmental Health Inequalities in a South African City? Rediscovering Regulation, Local Government and its Environmental Health Practitioners

By Rob Couch Copyright 2023
    144 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    South Africa is widely recognised as a middle-income, industrialised nation, but it also ranks amongst the most unequal countries in the world in terms of its income distribution and human development. Environmental health remains a considerable public health challenge in the 21st century as Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) try to tackle local environmental health inequalities in the face of historically disadvantaged populations suspicious of their motives and demands that far exceed any resources available.

    Based on an empirical research project that explores how local government Environmental Health Practitioners regulate environmental health in one of South Africa’s largest, fastest growing and most unequal cities, Urbington, this book explores the many influences on their decision-making including the limits of the law, organisational controls, the views of EHPs themselves and their relations with businesses, communities, politicians and others.

    Tackling Environmental Health Inequalities in a South African City? argues that if we are to meet the environmental health challenges of the 21st century, it is in our best interests to rediscover this vital local public health workforce. This book is essential reading for students, practitioners and policymakers in environmental health and public health, as well as those interested in urban development and policy, particularly in African cities.

    1. Introduction 2. Why local government EHPs matter? 3. How do EHPs tackle environmental health inequalities? 4. The regulatory context and limits of environmental health law 5. Urbington Metropolitan Municipality strategies and controls 6. The views of Urbington’s EHPs 7. Relations with the regulated 8. Conclusions and recommendations


    Dr Rob Couch is a registered Environmental Health Practitioner with experience in the public, private, academic and charity sectors across the UK and internationally. He currently works in a shared public health team across three local authorities in the East of England. When not in practice his wider research interests include the environmental health workforce and how Doughnut Economics can help to create more equitable, inclusive and sustainable cities. Rob is also a co-founder of the UK Environmental Health Research Network, which promotes the role of research, publication and more evidence-based environmental health.