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Climate Change And Health


3 August, 2015: Climate varies according to the distance from the Earth’s equator. It changes over a long timeframe.  Climate is changing today, our planet is warming quickly than ever before. Global warming is causing Earth’s average temperature to increase.

The consequences of climate change as rising temperature, change in precipitation, and rising sea level has the greatest impact on human health. The impacts of climate change vary from geographical regions.

Scientists  reported that this year turned out to be the hottest ever recorded. Hotter days can cause health problems such as dizziness and headache.Heat stroke is more severe and requires medical treatment.

The problems of heat-related health issues have been observed. Every year average of 688 deaths occurs only due to extreme heat (center for disease control). This year, heatwave caused the death of more than 2500 people in India and 1200 in Pakistan.

Wealthy countries are more likely to adopt climate change related disaster than poor countries. Even economically backward population suffer more because they are less likely to have facilities of air conditioned and insulated homes.  Some people are more vulnerable to illness such as infants, elderly people and hence cannot withstand hot temperature and poor air quality.

Climatic disaster is causing due to unpredictable weather like intense rainfall, dryness in monsoon, landslide, flood, GLOF etc. Loss of biodiversity as a result of climate change, decrease in crop yields, droughts, wildfire leading to deforestation which helps in absorbing excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is perpetuating cycle in which warmer temperature wreak atmospheric havoc. As a result,  this is also a threat to epidemic diseases in developing countries.

With rising sea levels, salt water can seep into groundwater tables and mix in the drinking water supply, and can also displace populations in low-lying areas.

These are just the examples of consequences of  the changing climate in health but what about the health effects that is caused by the climate change causing agents such as GHGs. Sunlight, warm air and pollution from power plants, coal gasoline and vehicles combine to produce ground-level ozone known as smog. Which exposure is harmful to human health and is experienced as poor air quality.

High concentration of carbon dioxide and warmer temperature in atmosphere stimulate some plants to grow faster and produce more allergens. The most common and chronic diseases that can lead to lower productivity.

Countries are concerned towards December, COP 21 summit where every country is going to commit to reducing emission rate at its best by mitigation and adaptation approach. In case of health issues, long term mitigation is the solution to eliminate the effects of climate change. For this, instant solution adaptation strategies must be developed in order to overcome these effects of climate disaster.

However, the cost of coping up with health risks linked to climatic change are higher but better planning, strategies, policies, investment can help communities become more resilient in global warming.

By: Sagarika Bhatta



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