Climate change and public health:Where we are today

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by Akinlabi Bisola

The usual average condition of a particular place over a long period of time is referred to as climate, over the years there has been a drastic change in the system which is usually attributed to human activities and industrialization.

Climatic change refers to some observable variations in the climate system resulting in new weather patterns.

Human activities such as bush burning, large scale agriculture, excessive waste disposal and improper waste management which rate increased since the beginning of the industrial revolution have led a 45 percent increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, this occurred despite the uptake of more than half of the emission by various natural sinks like the Amazon rainforest.

The International Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report concluded “it is extremely likely that human influence has been the predominant cause of the observed warming since the mid 20th
century “.

Global warming which is commonly used interchangeably with Climate change refers mainly to human-caused increase in global surface temperatures and it’s projected continuation.

Burning of fossil fuels,burning of wood and wood products,solid wastes, decomposition of organic wastes and fossil fuels in industries, agricultural activities such as bush burning, desforestation, all these led to the increase in the level of Greenhouse gases causing an alter in the equilibrium of the atmospheric gases.

The primary Greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere are water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone, these gases absorbs and emit radiant energy within the thermal infrared range and have said to have increased to a recorded level that has not been seen in 3 million years since the Industrial Revolution.

Carbondixode which account for less than 1percent of the
atmospheric gas have been said to increase which in turn led to the increased rate of air pollution.

Scientists believe Carbondixode is the primary culprit of the increasing temperature of the earth’s surface which also resulted to the warming of the sea waters as the ocean absorbs Carbondixode from the atmosphere.

Carbondixode increased emission impact the health of humans by displacing Oxygen in the atmosphere which makes breathing become more difficult as
Carbondixode level rises, in closed areas high level of Carbondixode can lead to health complaint such as headaches and difficulty in breathing.

Increased temperature of the earth’s surface have also seen an increase in health conditions like Heat stroke and Heat shock which is said to increase at the rate of 40 percent annually.

Disease causing vectors such as mosquitoes have said to have improved their distribution and activity as a result of
the increase in the temperature of the earth which led to high rate of outbreak of diseases such as Malaria, Yellow fever,
Cholera.

The degree and type of effect are different, depending on the location of the respective countries and socioeconomic situation.

UNAID reported 19th September that the health status of people living with HIV/AIDS is at stake in Serria Leone as most of the patients lamented their Anti-retroviral drugs being washed away by flood.

Variation and uncertainty in the pattern of rainfall ,flood and devasted farmland have said to result in at least 2.5 percent decline in harvest on rice, maize, cassava and Mellon per annum.

Even the richest man in the country is not spared from the consequences as his Tomato plant is said to be losing an estimate of #30 million due to increased level of rain and floods.

Drought and flood resulted to limited availability of natural grass, and water which led to reduced grazing time for livestocks which could be one of the contributing factor to the incessant disagreement between farmers
and Normadics, as these cattle rearers would rather let their livestocks feed on other peoples farm than buying feed for them, the reduced feeding also affected the production of some livestock products such as beef and milk.

High temperature and high humidity increase the growth of parasites outside their host which resulted to the high mortality rate among livestock especially poultry which in turn also reduce the availability of poultry product like egg, chicken, turkey and also increases rate of plant infestation .

Flooding of fish ponds especially those situated in Wetlands as led to
loss of farmland and also availability of some specie of fish. Food security is at stake here as climate change led to reduced availability of foods and increase in the price of farm produce making it difficult for the masses to feed.

Ocean surge, which occur as a result of periodic spilling and plunging sea waves causes erosion to farmland, sand deposition, mud accumulation, salivation of farm land which cause damage to general soil fertility.

Flooding is causing discoloration of borehole water which led to the shortage and increase in the price of portable satchet water as
manufacturers will require extra effort in ensuring it fitness for consumption.

“There is still time to tackle climate change, but it will require an unprecedented effort from all sectors of the society”
these were the words of Antonio Guttered, the UN Secretary General as they prepare for the UN General Assembly which took place in New York City.

The event which provided platform for countries and businesses to demonstrate how they will reduce emission by at least 45 percent by 2030, and a target of achieving carbon neutrality by mid-century.

Scientists recommend that the Earth’s temperature be kept at 1.5 degree Celsius or below to avoid further harmful effect of climate
change, for this to happen policies will have to be developed which will require effort from all countries, states, local governments private and public sector and the general public to first be exposed to climate education so as to see the need to take action.

The youth of today having started taking action by making sure their voices are heard by staging climate change rallies in some countries as the most of the older generation do not see any need for it which the UN Secretary General confirmed during the General Assembly when he said ” My generation has failed to grasp the seriousness of the climate
emergency.

We are still subsidizing fossil fuels, building coal-fired power plant, and polluters are getting away with it”.

Noticeable effort from teen activist for climate change, Greta Thurnberg and UN goodwill ambassador Aidan. R. Gallagher
gives a reassurance the there could be possible change soonest.

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