2018 Planetary Health Photography Contest

Published: 21 May 2018

The purpose of the photo contest is to highlight important contributions by artists, researchers, and change-makers in planetary health from around the world, and to recognise their work at the 2018 Planetary Health Annual Meeting taking place in Edinburgh.

The content was hosted on Instagram with the aim of increasing the visibility of planetary health by highlighting their impacts on the environment and how this affects our health through art. 
The winning photograph will be published on the cover of ​The Lancet Planetary Health collection of abstracts at the 2018 Planetary Health Annual Meeting in Edinburgh. The top five photos will be displayed on the main screen during the plenary sessions of the Annual Meeting and shared through the Planetary Health Alliance social media.

 First Place: 

Geoffrey Gaspard

Geoffrey Gaspard, Madagascar

Two Malagasy fishermen are forced to go further off the Northeastern coast of Madagascar to find fish. The resources have become so rare because of the overfishing by foreign ships, sometimes illegally, that local fishermen are left with rowing more and struggle to survive. By going earlier in the morning and by spending several hours at sea, sometimes several miles away from the coast, these fishermen manage to find fish. The situation gets worse when the village relies mostly on the marine resources. Overall, this topic asks the questions of the sustainability of the resources, its regulation by both foreign and local fishermen. As those villages are so far located from the decision (corrupted) institutions, will there be any improvement for them to do more than survive?


Kausik Bhattacharyya

Kausik Bhattacharyya, Diving the Dark Water, Floating by the Froth, Delhi, India

"If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water" and we are putting in all our efforts to let the magic not unveil itself.  Yamuna, though considered to be sacred, is one of the most polluted rivers on Earth. Human religious activities along with illegal construction, huge industrial and domestic waste get pounded into this river making it almost lifeless. Huge poisonous froth floats the river through the Capital Delhi. People are suffering from several severe health hazards because of negligence, consuming the same for drinking and farming. Shockingly, many of the locals are unaware of the reason for the frothing, and they think they come from some soap factory and will help them grow fair if taken a bath! This makes the kids dive for fun. A lot of damage has been done and it is already too late. Several educating programs and NGOs are on the run, though more awareness and care are required both for the people and for the river....                                                                  



PIVOT, Madagascar

Madagascar’s 2017 plague outbreak was the island nation’s worst in 50 years, occurring due to a confluence of factors at the intersection of poverty, a weakened health system, and environmental change and degradation. The crisis underlined the central importance of strengthened health systems to serve vulnerable populations, prevent unnecessary death, and support emergency responses. Strong health systems require, among other things, reliable supply chains of medicines. In Madagascar’s rural Ifanadiana District, medicines for treating plague and other diseases must be delivered on foot to health centers inaccessible by road. Randria, the transporteur pictured here, was sent by community leaders to guide and support the NGO PIVOT and the Madagascar Ministry of Health in responding to the plague epidemic, carrying life-saving antibiotics through the fragile, threatened landscape to one such health facility. He, alongside countless other communities and providers, played a key role in ensuring patients and families in the most remote areas of the district had access to care and treatment during the outbreak.  


Sylvia Xistris

Sylvia Xistris, Niadup, Gu

This photo depicts the realities of indigenous life on the remote, island village of Niadup, Guna Yala -- a semiautonomous territory off the north eastern Panamanian coast -- taken by fellow classmate, Jacob Batycki, as part of my MPH Field Experience and Capstone Project supported by the University of Miami’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) travel award Grant. This project, completed during an incredible 10 days as invited guests on Niadup in June 2017, studied the nutrition transition through Guna stakeholder perspectives and the overarching effects of globalization on indigenous peoples. This moment captures a traditionally dressed Guna woman standing at the head of our field station, pondering the direct links between health and the environment. As she looks out, she observes the rising sea levels impact visible through the raised dock, deteriorating infrastructures, and decline in sustainable farming. These noted effects of climate change, the greatest threat to the coastal Guna today, negatively impact access to food choices on Niadup. This woman awaits the arrival of a trading boat- a boat that encompasses the issues of globalization manifested through access to nutrition- as high-calorie, non-native foods, and sugar beverages arrive from Panama City and Colombia. The nutrition transition is observed between generations, where children have little access to the same traditional meals their parents and grandparents grew up eating. The coastal dwelling Guna face a new challenge of changing diets, apparent through environmental and economic inequalities. This woman reflects the values of planetary health, as she represents the struggles faced by indigenous peoples as they strive to maintain traditional values and environmental sustainability in the modernizing world.                 


Tianjia (Tina ) Liu

Tianjia Liu, Winter Haze in Shenyang, China

The winter sky is often shrouded in a veil of thick haze that hugs the infrastructure in the northeastern city of Shenyang, China. Emissions from construction dust, coal-fired power plants, vehicles, and regional biomass burning inject high concentrations of fine particulate matter in the air. Stagnant winds trap and suspend the pollutants near the surface. The faint rainbow-colored tint of the haze concocts an ominous, unnatural backdrop against the construction site in the foreground. Without air filter masks, the hardhats worn by construction workers are useless as the air itself is a silent, omnipresent threat.                        






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