The climate crisis is public health crisis. Severe temperatures, heat stress, excessive rainfall and floods an increase in water and vector borne diseases and more frequent extreme weather events are all evidences of this existential threat to our health security, that is why the WHO declared “climate change as the greatest threat to global health in 21st century.
According to the world bank climate change could drag more than 100 million people back into extreme poverty by 2030. The climate risk index shows that 8 out of ten countries most impacted by extreme weather events are the low middle income countries.
Over the last two decades, India has witnessed a significant rise in extreme temperature, heat stress events, cyclones, floods, droughts and malnutrition. In 2019 it ranked seventh globally for the severe impact of climate change as in the global climate risk index.
According to India.2023 brought out by down to earth magazines India has seen a disaster nearly every day in the first nine months of this year from heat and cold waves, cyclones, lightening to heavy rain, floods and landslides. These disasters have claimed 2923 human lives affected 1.84 million hectare of crop area destroyed over 80,053 hours and killed 92,500 livestock.
According to RBI most recent report as much as 4.5% of the country’s GDP could be jeopardised by 2030 due to impact of extreme heat and humidity on labour hours. Rising air pollution caused 1.6 million pre mature deaths in 2019.
Major public health challenge, including malaria, malnutrition and diarrhoea, further compounded the situation.
Need for plans: over 700 million individuals in India representing a significant portion of population residing in rural areas, rely directly on climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and forest for the livelihood. It is crucial to proactively formulate plans and policies to their health needs.
Prioritising health in climate planning safeguards, both immediate and long term, will bring in the face of climate change impacts. The focus enhances community resilience and disease mitigation, ensuring the population can better cope with challenges.
Integrating health into climate planning also strategically crucial for overall effectiveness.