Climate change and health



Although sometimes we are not aware, our health is intimately the environment in which we live. Therefore, any change can destabilize our quality of life and even produce certain diseases that we were not exposed to before. This is what some health experts predict as a cause of climate change and what, in their opinion, should be controlled to avoid possible epidemics.

In addition, it is estimated that currently 20% of diseases that occur in industrialized countries can be attributed to some environmental factor. Among this, also worth noting that the children are the main victims. Therefore, specialists ask for solutions in the search to prevent something that has been foreseen for decades.

Consequences of climate change

“Climate change cannot be denied.” Professor José Luis Carreras, an expert on the subject, is so clear-cut. The gradual elevation of the temperatures to which our Planet is being subjected is causing visible alterations in our climate that cause the glaciers to disappear, the frozen surfaces and the sea level to rise. To begin to counteract these effects, “it would be necessary to reduce CO2 emissions and use cleaner energies, but also to sensitize the population so that we modify our lifestyle,” adds Carreras.


But what effects, besides the ecological ones, can this change have? According to Xavier Xardó, director of the Institut Català de Ciéncies del Clima, there is a relationship between some diseases and the climate, for example, “heat waves, which can alter our circulatory system, or some infectious disorders”, which can multiply with the rise in temperatures. Without a doubt, it seems that all this can create multiple public health problems in the future.

Without going any further, the data shows that today, 23% of premature deaths can be attributed to environmental factors, a figure that increases when we refer to young children. “Children are what they are paying more the increase of the so-called environmental diseases,” said José Martí, president of the Spanish Society of Environmental Health, who also notes that “the percentage of climatic risk factors is the same in the first and in the Third World”.

How to solve the problem?

Health professionals warn that it is necessary to anticipate the problem and try to put solutions before climate change can have devastating effects on the health of the population. Fortunately, in Spain, we have specific environmental control programs, which are responsible for monitoring the state of water, air pollution and the correct use of chemical components that can lead to environmental and health problems. However, experts say that it is necessary to increase the scope of this environmental monitoring system.


In addition, it is demonstrated that the ailments that can be derived from climate change can affect with special virulence in the Mediterranean area, bringing with it until now tropical diseases. Wishing that this never happens, we are currently seeing “an increase in acute respiratory infections and some neurological disorders,” says José Martí.

But at a global level, the aspirations have to be much stronger than those of the current Kyoto Protocol, which most experts consider insufficient to face a situation that is already beginning to become evident. The objective, although many attributes it to purely ecological causes, is to reduce CO2 emissions and try to reforest as much as possible to return to our planet that natural balance it should have.

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