Climate Change Impacts on Human Health

“This is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced. This is not something you can like on Facebook.” Those are the words of environmental activist Greta Thunberg about how devastating climate change can be.

Climate change is causing all sorts of catastrophes around the world from extreme weather situations, mass extinction of animal species, loss of food supplies, migration of people and many other problems however climate change has also led to a deadly impact on the health of humans globally.

As the severity of Climate changes rise, we can witness how the human health is affected globally. Climate change has led to increase in precipitation extremes; either heavy rainfalls or droughts can impact our health.  Over the last decade, flooding is one of the most hazardous weather-related events worldwide. Floods can lead to mold which in turn can lead to aggravation of asthma, respiratory tract infections and infections like pneumonia. People living in drought conditions can encounter dangerous situations like dust storms and wildfires which in turn lead to reduction of air quality. Poor air leads to respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses.

An increase in global temperatures leads to a rise in many mosquitoes borne and water borne diseases. Higher temperature leads to a reduction in the development time of pathogens in disease vectors (e.g. mosquitoes and dengue) and this leads to an increase in the transmission of the disease in humans. On the other hand, extreme rainfalls affect the transport of diseases into the water supply. Many outbreaks of water borne diseases have been linked with contamination caused by flooding and heavy rainfall.

Climate change will lead to extremely negative consequences like shortage of crops and food which in turn will cause the rates of malnourishment to rise rapidly. According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) many countries in Africa and South America can have a fall in agricultural productivity by 30% till the year 2030. Pakistan could lose production of its important crops like rice, maize and wheat by 10% till 2030. Global climate change will also lead to a rise in pests and insects that would contribute to an already declining crop yield. Food shortages would likely be a very big concern in the not so distant future.

Climate change will also indirectly affect us in ways that we never considered. Extreme weather situations like heat waves, floods, droughts and other scenarios might lead to severe trauma or mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Climate change will lead to an increase in the demand of electricity under extreme conditions. This could cripple the hospital and health systems and curtail the effectiveness to help out the people.

In the coming years we will continue to see the adverse impacts of climate change on every aspect of life unless we try to do something about this menace. We have seen some unity as 186 countries signed The Paris Climate Agreement in 2016 and agreed to fight climate change and reduce the carbon emissions however this might be all in vain as climate change will end up destroying the entire humanity.

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