Climate Change: Lancet Report Warns of Health Implications for Children

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A recent Lancet study unfolds the drastic implications of climate change on the health of human beings. It talks about the dire consequences of growing environmental pollution and unprecedented scales of climate change and its glory implications for people of all ages.

However, the point that the report most strongly asserts is that it is the children who are the worst suffers of this environmental decadence.

Children will be and are among the worst and most vulnerable categories to be effected by the climate change and it is indeed bringing about adverse consequences for their health and well being.

The Lancet report has been collated using research from 35 global academic institutions and has pointed out that children are increasingly at a risk due to their undernutrition as a result of reduced crop yields, increased risk of dengue and diseases like diarrhoea  as the climate becomes more and more conducive to their transmission. This makes them more and more exposed to long and short term health disorders and air pollution puts an immediate risk to their holistic development and good health.

The report by Lancet has taken into account 41 key indicators that form the link between health and climate change. From our country, it is the Public Health Foundation which has taken active part in the writing and collation of this important report. The report reminds us that while climate change is posing sever risks for us all, it is particularly impacting children and making them vulnerable to disease and infections. This is because children’s immunities are low and their bodies are still developing, continual exposure to polluted climatic agents and pollution makes them vulnerable and easily infected by both short term and long term infections.

Since their lungs are still developing, exposure to polluted air makes the functioning of their lungs worse and makes them venerable to asthma, stroke and heart attack. What makes this report extremely important is the fact that unlike other reports, it lays focus on what climate change can do for the health of children and the infants. It argues that infants are the most vulnerable due to climate change and because they are already suffering from factors like malnutrition, low immunity etc it makes them the prominent victims of pollution.

Infants will also be the first to suffer from the rise of infectious diseases, especially to those infectious disease that grow with the rise in global temperatures.

It cannot be denied that the situation in countries like India is specially serious because malnutrition in India is responsible for the death of two-thirds of children under five and at the same time it is experiencing a steady decline in food production over the years.

Moreover, climatic change has made the air favourable adding hosting conditions for Vibro bacteria. This is the kind of bacteria which is responsible for diarrhoea and cholera. A disease such as dengue is also on the rise due ti climate change and the last decade has been the most suitable for the transmission of the virus responsible for dengue.  The report also warns that despite numerous initiatives that India might have taken to control climate change, the achievements of the last 50 years may soon be reversed by the changing climate.

It also argues that India will be among the top countries that will bear the brunt of unprecedented climate change due to the huge population, healthcare lapses, poverty accompanied by malnutrition. The warming of global temperatures has put the entire globe at an unprecedented risk and it may have already become too late.

If immediate steps are not taken to limit the global temperature, children born in contemporary times will have to continue fighting a difficult battle for survival.


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