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Threat of Climate Change Towards Children

 

Threat of Climate Change Towards Children

Climate change is now a global issue ;  Various man made activities, like increasing use of  fossil fuel, industrial emission of green-house gases, uncontrolled deforestation  etc. are mainly responsible for a continuous increase of global temperature which gives rise to the shrinking of arctic glaciers, rising of sea level etc. The weather has become more extreme, both hot and cold – as has rainfall & drought in different parts of the world ; The sum total impact of all these is the change of climate which is not natural, but clearly man made ;                                                                                                               We, the so called civilized human beings are solely responsible for this ;  

How Children are Affected

-        Children, mainly infants are more vulnerable to heat waves and coldness ;

-        Poor air quality from climate change can cause breathing problems, especially in children with asthma ;

-        Climate change is responsible for infections such as Lyme disease, Diarrhea and Parasites, which are often more dangerous to children than adults ;

-        Extreme weather events  such as severe storms, floods & wildfires, not only directly threaten the lives & safety of children, they put them at risk of mental  health problems ; These can also cause lasting effects when they destroy their communities and their schools ;

-        In some countries of the world  climate changes have led to less food, including healthy food ;

 

Concerns for Children in India and Other South Asian Countries

As per a recent  UNICEF report (21-08-2021), India, Bangladesh, Pakistan & Afghanistan are  among 33  ‘extremely high risk countries’  where  children are most  at risk of climate change affecting their health and education ; It warns of repeated flooding and air pollution, as environmental shocks,  leading to adverse socio-economic conditions for kids and women ;

As per a recent estimate, more than 600 million Indian will face acute water shortages in the  coming  years ;

At the same time ‘Flash Flooding’ will increase significantly in the majority of India’s urban areas once the global temperature rises above 2 Degree  Celsius ;

Twenty-One of the world’s 30 cities with the most polluted air in 2020 were in India ;

 

The Climate Crisis is a Child Rights Crisis

UNICEF has introduced ‘Children’s  Climate Risk Index’ or CCRI which ranks countries based on children’s exposure to climate & environmental shocks, such as cyclones and heat waves, as well as their vulnerability to those shocks based on their access to essential services ; As per this Index Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan & India are among the four South Asian  countries where the children are at extremely high risk of the impacts of the  climate crisis, with a ranking of 14th, 15th, 25th and 26th respectively ;  

 

 How to Get Over the Crisis

-        We can  reduce our energy consumption and waste, as individual, families, communities and societies ;

-        We should  decrease our dependence on fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas and increase more  and more  the use of solar power & other alternative sources for supply of energy ;

-        We should keep our emergency healthcare system ready to meet the requirements of extreme weather condition & national disaster ;

-        We can advocate for local, national & international policies that try to decrease greenhouse gas emissions ;  

                    [Source :  Reports from UNICEF  &  American Academy of Pediatrics]

 

  

 

 

 

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