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Impact of Climatic Change on Human Health

Kanchan Sandhu and Alka Singh

Abstract

The present paper is for the better understanding about the immense potential health effects of climate change. Climate change is the greatest health threat of the 21st century with implications for food production, water and health. The average global temperature has risen approximately 0.6° C over past century. World health organization has already documented the “human health effects of climate changeâ€ under a high priority research agenda. Climate change affects the health of individuals directly and indirectly. The effect of climate change varies by region, relative vulnerability of population, by the extent and duration of exposure and society’s ability to adapt to the change. In India one of the major consequences of climate change will be lack of food causing malnutrition and disease. Further, the modern food system which is a direct or indirect outcome of climate change is affecting health. Factors like exacerbation of unsafe water, disease, malnutrition, lack of awareness and nutritional knowledge affects the health. Extreme temperatures lead to air and water pollution which in turn may affect human health (respiratory, cardiovascular, various vector borne disease, emotional disturbances etc.). Any health related disaster (floods, draughts etc.) may cripple the already inadequate public health infrastructure. The risks of not only vector borne diseases like malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, and encephalitis increase but the risk of diseases like diabetes, hypertension and other lifestyle disease also increase. The cause of diseases like migraines, indigestion, acid reflux, constipation, unexplained body pains, fatigue etc are untraceable. It can be due to climate change and changed food habits and availability. It’s reported that 35% of green house gas emission is by chemical agriculture, meat and food industry. Therefore, a vicious cycle is formed. With the food sector being contributing about one third of carbon emission today and affecting the health otherwise too, there is no option but to review the situation. Response options to protect health from effects of climate change include mitigation and adaptation. Further, High quality research is needed to strengthen the awareness programmes and policies designed to influence environmental factors that affect human health. There is an urgent need to underpin the awareness programmes and nutrition campaigns at grass root level. Definitely, whatever is good for earth is good for human body too

Keyword: Climate; Health; Nutrition; Awareness;

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