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Next health crisis

Focus: GS2: Health issues, Social Issues

Why in news?

efforts of the government and the private sector to revive the economy in the time of COVID­19 are two dangers to people’s health air pollution and greenhouse gases

Impact

  • avoided number of early deaths from dirty air quality in recent months in China is estimated to have exceeded the number of those who have died from COVID­19
  • In Europe, 11,000 air ­pollution related deaths were estimated to have been averted since the start of lockdowns
  • Globally some 9 million premature deaths a year are associated with air pollutants, such as fine particulate matter, known as PM 2.5
  • 14 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities are in India
  • GHGs like carbon dioxide are causing global warming and damaging health
  • Ranked as the world’s fifth most vulnerable country to climate change, India must respond to alerts on communicable diseases linked to GHGs
  • Global warming intensifies heat waves and worsens respiratory illnesses
  • Locust swarms in Jaipur and Gurugram have been linked to climate change 
  • Mosquito­ borne diseases in India have been connected to global warming through both increased rainfall and heat waves
  • Spending on reducing air pollution and GHGs provides estimated health benefits of 1.4 to 2.5 times more than the cost of the action

Way forward

  • Emission reduction should be coupled with a stronger public health system
  • Increased health expenditure as a percentage of GDP
  • Improving public transport
  • Limiting the number of polluting vehicles on the road
  • Introducing less polluting fuel
  • Strict emission regulations
  • Improved efficiency for thermal power plants and industries
  • Moving from diesel generators to rooftop solar
  • Increased use of clean renewable energy
  • Electric vehicles
  • Removing dust from roads
  • Regulating construction activities
  • Stopping biomass burning, etc.
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