Dhaka, Bangladesh
Climate change and children’s health

Climate change and children’s health

The unwelcome phenomenon of the climate change is a reality that simply can’t be denied. According to the environmental experts there is more than a 90 per cent chance that average summer temperatures will exceed the highest temperatures yet recorded in many regions by the end of the 21st century. Children, especially those of developing countries like Bangladesh, are particularly vulnerable to the effects of these changes. Every child needs a safe and healthy environment and climate change is a rising public health threat to all children in this country and indeed all over the world. By 2030, climate change is projected to cause an additional 48,000 deaths attributable to diarrhoeal disease in children younger than 15 years old, primarily in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The medical community and the government must join hands and collaborate to protect children from climate-related threats. Such threats include natural disasters, heat stress, lower air quality, increased infections, and threats to food and water supplies. Because of the increased risks for heat waves, droughts, and floods, as well as sea level rise, more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere make food shortages more likely, lessen air quality, diminish freshwater supplies, and may create conditions favourable for the spread of certain infectious diseases. Following climate-related disasters, such as hurricanes or floods, high numbers of children are found to exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Children under one year of age are especially vulnerable to heat-related mortality and failure to take prompt, substantive action would be an act of injustice to children. And the world must come together and find a permanent solution to this problem. Perhaps for the first time ever since the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, the world is on the verge of transforming the energy sources. The decisions made today about where the energy for future will come from and how it will be used will have longstanding effects upon the health of the future generation, just as the choice to exploit fossil fuels two centuries ago affects the health of the people of the world today. We have a remarkable opportunity, as this energy shift unfolds, to find energy sources that provide for the healthiest possible future for all.

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