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Worryingly, many Indian cities find themselves in the midst of an air pollution crisis. Delhi in particular is afflicted by toxic smoke clouds containing over six times the acceptable pollutant level, leading to serious respiratory issues. Some even estimate that half of all children in the city suffer from severe lung disease.
Additionally, emissions from ongoing construction efforts coupled with fumes from vehicles in busy environments make those living in urban areas far more susceptible than those in rural regions. Anthropogenic climate issues resulting from vehicular pollution and coal-burning cause the release of black carbon aerosols soot , leading to hotter temperatures, an increased likelihood of droughts in the north, and respiratory diseases such as asthma. These problems are further compounded by physically demanding working conditions. Many parts of India satisfy such conditions, and studies have found that working situations on construction sites around the country require around hours of daily presence, thus increasing the threat of heat exhaustion and other temperature-related ailments.
Such studies highlight the clear threats to longevity in India. Concerns over the spread of vector-borne diseases in India are well founded, with 96 percent of the population exposed to malaria and over 2 million annual cases. Many infectious agents, vector organisms, and the rate of pathogen replication are sensitive to climate conditions.
The relationship between malaria and climate is easily explained: mosquitos increase their reproduction and maturity as temperatures rise, up to a threshold point. Given their short lifespan, the quicker they mature, the faster they can transmit disease — and the more significant the human impacts they can cause. Epstein notes the difference between climate and weather and the respective roles they play in human health. Climate is a key determinant of health, as it constrains the range of infectious diseases whilst weather affects the timing and intensity of outbreaks.
By affecting the temporal and spatial distribution, rising temperatures and fundamental changes to the global climate are therefore causing an expansion of many serious infections. Malaria in India has always been a problem. It is endemic in all regions, excepting areas of elevation above m such as the Himalayas and some coastal areas.
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However, current predictions show a continued rise in temperature, with the cooler areas now reaching the minimum levels needed for vector reproduction. Global climate modelling, as reported by Bhattacharya , indicates that the number of people in developing countries likely to be at risk of malarial infection will increase between 5 and 15 percent due to the dominant role of humidity and temperature in transmission.
In northern areas like Punjab and Haryana, the transmission window is expected to increase by months as temperatures in the colder months exceed the transmission threshold, thereby placing populations under prolonged threat. For regions such as Uttar Pradesh, this would mean exposure to malaria during months of the year. Dhingra et al. These numbers are expected to increase dramtatically. Whilst most regions are at some risk, 65 percent of malaria cases are found in just six states, including coastal areas like Orissa, where incidence is on par with sub-Saharan Africa.
A significant correlation has been shown between greater precipitation and rising temperatures and the incidence of malaria, linked with an increased abundance of vectors. India particularly struggles in responding to disease due to a decline in social conditions and public health programs, with the current lack of resources placing greater strain on limited health services; indeed, the inability to efficiently respond to disease makes developing countries like India far more concerned about health.
Less is known about the impact of climate on cases of urban malaria, but it is expected that rising inward migration due to climate change will increase poverty and the rapid spread of the disease. Such indirect effects of climate change have been found to further spread malaria.
Migration from other regions or neighbouring countries like Bangladesh — where malaria incidence is also incredibly high — to densely populated peri-urban areas on the outskirts of large cities rapidly increases transmission rates. Overpopulation and poor environmental conditions in temporary settlements are likely to make incidence rife.
The burden of waterborne disease in India is enormous. Temperature fluctuations, the increased frequency of heavy floods, and rising sea levels all have the power to cause havoc in the country, making the spread of disease-causing pathogens and chemical hazards more likely. In Water-related diseases run rampant across India, with diarrhoea and cholera leading the way. Moors et al. Predictions for India indicate that an increase is likely in all three areas, and incidences of diarrhoea are therefore expected to increase by The spread of these ailments is amplified by the lack of basic sanitation and a reduction in the availability of freshwater.
A full 73 percent of rural India does not have water disinfection, while 74 percent do not have sanitary toilets. The spread of cholera has also increased. Annually, there are approximately 5 million cases of cholera in India, although Zuckerman et al. Cholera has been reported in 21 out of 35 Indian states, with high incidence in coastal regions and areas vulnerable to monsoons.
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Predictably, cases of cholera have continued to rise throughout India. Research has shown positive correlations between temperature increases and precipitation on the spread of cholera, and case studies reflect this. Sur et al. If future predictions are to be believed, waterborne diseases will spread further across the country and impact millions more people, compromising health security and the aim of guaranteeing minimum protections from disease.
Predictably, the poorest will be hardest hit as their only source of water will be both stagnant and highly contaminated.
The impacts of climate change on human health stretch far beyond easily identifiable diseases and quantifiable deaths that can be directly attributed. Indeed, the underlying and indirect effects of climate change can be far more devastating. Journal of Policy Modeling 30 2 , Apergis, N. CO2 emissions, energy usage, and output in Central America. Energy Policy 37 8 , Energy consumption and economic growth in Central America: evidence from a panel cointegration and error correction model. Energy Economics 31 2 , Renewable and non-renewable energy consumption-growth nexus: Evidence from a panel error correction model.
Energy Economics 34 3 , Renewable energy, output, CO2 emissions, and fossil fuel prices in Central America: Evidence from a nonlinear panel smooth transition vector error correction model. Energy Economics 42 C , On the causal dynamics between emissions, nuclear energy, renewable energy, and economic growth. Ecological Economics 69 11 , Arellano, M.
Another look at the instrumental variable estimation of error-components models. Journal of Econometrics 68 1 , Bauhardt, C. Solutions to the crisis? The Green New Deal, Degrowth, and the Solidarity Economy: Alternatives to the capitalist growth economy from an ecofeminist economics perspective.
Ecological Economics , Begum, R. CO2 emissions, energy consumption, economic and population growth in Malaysia. Bozoklu, S.
Energy consumption and economic growth for selected OECD countries: Further evidence from the Granger causality test in the frequency domain. Energy Policy 63, Buch-Hansen, H.
- China's air pollution: Escaping the Prisoner's Dilemma.
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Capitalist diversity and de-growth trajectories to steady-state economies. Ecological Economics C , Chang, C. A multivariate causality test of carbon dioxide emissions, energy consumption and economic growth in China. Applied Energy 87 11 , Chen, S.
Tiny Singapore a microcosm of the global climate dilemma
Energy Economics 44 C , Chiou-Wei, S. Economic growth and energy consumption revisited-evidence from linear and nonlinear Granger causality.
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Energy Economics 30 6 , Chontanawat, J. Does energy consumption cause economic growth?