Do you remember the extreme heat waves that India and our so-called friendly neighbour Pakistan experienced in 2015 when the temperature touched 53.5C? It is considered as the deadliest heatwave in history till now, that claimed the lives of around 3,700 people.
You may have heard about hurricane Harvey that hit the parts of Texas and Louisiana in August 2017. A country as developed as the United States of America was not even able to cope up with the destruction of this Atlantic hurricane that flooded the cities with over four feet of water.
The same year, South Asian countries like India, Nepal, Bangladesh were hit by heavy monsoon rain that affected the lives of around 43 million people and claimed the lives of around 1,200 people.
Do you understand why these extreme weather conditions are occurring? Who is responsible? In 2018-19, extreme weather events took the lives of as many as 2,400 Indians. And, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), more of these events with greater intensity and frequency will occur in the coming years.
Scientists say, we humans are responsible for our own destruction. The increasing emission of carbon dioxide, burning of fossil fuels like oil and coal, deforestation, increasing waste, forest burning, and throwing of garbage in the oceans are some of the actions that are contributing significantly to the climate change and making our mother Earth warmer day by day. They are also leading to the damage of the ozone layer that is known to protect us from the harmful ultraviolet rays coming from the Sun.
This is the reason why we are hearing more and more news about the melting of oceans, increasing sea level, burning of forests, loss of marine lives, extreme drought, heavy rainfall, etc. The extreme disparities are experienced due to human-induced climate change. And, if you think it is not going to impact your life individually, you are highly mistaken. No one is immune to the ill impacts of climate change.
According to a recent study published in the Lancet, in the next 100 years, more and more people will be exposed to extreme weather events leading to “a potentially catastrophic risk to human health”. To make you understand the health impacts of climate change and how they are knocking on our doors, here we mention some of the ongoing and approaching health hazards.
- The increasing CO2 emissions in the air will make staple crops less nutritious leading to the problem of undernutrition, increased food price, and even hunger.
- The rise in temperature is leading to an upward movement of insects in a bid to survive. This is causing mosquito-borne diseases in higher areas like Shimla.
- Hotter days, higher humidity will lead to more ticks that are known to cause Lyme disease, an infectious condition.
- Mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and suicide rates will increase due to trauma because of the increasing frequency of extreme weather conditions like floods, drought, rain, etc.
- Longer hot weather means longer allergy season. This will lead to an increased number of cases of respiratory disease.
- Increasing sea levels can submerge the low-lying areas and can threaten freshwater supplies.