Climate change

The earth is becoming warmer due to increase in emission of greenhouse gases caused by human activities and this changing climate is expected to affect the basic requirements for maintaining health, i.e. air and water, sufficient food and adequate shelter. This change has the potential to affect humans by altering the geographic range and seasonality of certain infectious diseases, disturbing food-producing ecosystems, and increasing the frequency of extreme weather events.

On account of the unique combination of India’s geography, diverse population characteristics and high carbon-related energy dependence, climate change is likely to have a greater impact on health in India. Considering the importance of climate change regarding sustainable development, the Prime Minister of India had released the first “National Action Plan on Climate Change” in 2008 outlining India’s existing and future policies and programs, which address climate mitigation and adaptation.

The action plan has components of assessment of increased burden of disease due to climate change and provision for improved public health care services. The areas of activities will include providing high-resolution climate data to study the regional pattern of disease, prioritization of geographic areas based on vulnerability to climate change and ecological studies of effect of climate change on air pollutants and disease vectors.