Dr Richa Mahajan,
Dr Rajiv K Gupta
Climate change is a critical public health problem which, in addition to introducing new parasites and pathogens into communities, exacerbates many existing diseases and conditions. Climate change indicates an increase in sea surface temperature, an increase in the severity of extreme weather events, a rise in sea level, melting glaciers, a decrease in air quality and an increase greenhouse gas emissions. We still have not been able to forget the devastating effects of the Kashmir floods (2014), the Uttarakhand flash floods (2013) and the tsunami (2004). The southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have witnessed flood-like situations due to heavy rains in recent times. Whether in the Western Ghats or the Himalayas, states have compelling reasons to address and mitigate their climate-related vulnerabilities. The Madhav Gadgil committee in 2011 recommended that a section of approximately 130,000 km² covering Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu be declared an environmentally sensitive area, but the recommendations have yet to be declared. been accepted despite enormous loss of wealth and lives. .
The direct and indirect health consequences of such a global imbalance include diseases related to excessive heat, vector-borne and water-borne diseases, increased exposure to environmental toxins, and exacerbation of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases due to the decline air quality. The most vulnerable people – children, the elderly, the poor and those with underlying co-morbidities – are at increased risk of health effects from climate change. Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause an additional 250,000 deaths per year, due to malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress.
To mitigate and adapt to climate change, the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change (PMCC), India released the National Climate Change Action Plan (NAPCC) with eight missions in June 2008. In 2015 , India’s response to climate change has been broadened by introducing four new missions including “Health”. The proposed “health mission” will address the health-related aspects of climate change through a multi-pronged approach. As a result, the National Action Plan for Climate Change and Human Health (NAPCCHH) was prepared in 2018 with the aim of strengthening health services against the adverse effects of climate change on health. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) approved the National Program on Climate Change and Human Health (NPCCHH) under the National Health Mission (NHM) in February 2019. Currently, the three main focus areas of the NPCCHH are air pollution, heat-related illnesses and building green and climate-resilient health facilities.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also presented five nectar elements, ‘Panchamrit’, to tackle the challenge of climate change at the COP26 summit in Glasgow:
* India will increase its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030.
* India will meet 50% of its energy needs from renewable energies by 2030.
* India will reduce total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes by 2030.
* By 2030, India will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by less than 45%.
* By 2070, India will meet the Net Zero target.
The promotion of renewable energies by the Indian government is a strong commitment to climate change. We can also help reduce the effects of climate change by making small changes in our way of life such as:
* Replace old appliances with energy efficient models and bulbs / LEDs.
* Save electricity by turning them off completely when not in use, including your computer.
* Reduce, reuse and recycle waste.
* Plant more trees.
* Promote the use of public transport and active travel (walking, cycling, etc.).
* Use renewable energies. If you have the possibility, install solar panels in your home.
* Bring your own bag when shopping.
* Use a refillable water bottle and a coffee mug. Reduce waste.
Rising global temperatures, record levels of greenhouse gas emissions and the growing impacts of climate change require urgent and measurable action from everyone.