World Health Day: Why is the Climate Crisis a Health Crisis?

On World Health Day it is important to talk about the problems that derive from global warming in public health and why it is necessary to control this crisis that puts human life at risk.

Man holding a sign that says 'SOS'

Photo: Freepik

LatinAmerican Post | Brandon Martínez Salazar

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Leer en español: Día Mundial de la Salud: ¿Por qué la crisis climática es una crisis de salud?

Currently, human beings are facing a devastating world with great challenges due to global warming. This crisis in the environment will mainly affect less developed nations since only half of the countries have technologies to produce clean energy. Meanwhile, the air that people breathe is becoming increasingly dangerous to health, leaving at least seven million deaths a year due to this circumstance.

“A third of deaths from stroke, lung cancer and heart disease are due to air pollution. It is an effect equivalent to that of smoking tobacco and is much more serious than, for example, the effects of eating too much salt”, states a WHO article on air pollution and its influence on health, published on the occasion of the World Health Day.

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This is something very serious, because it means that the incidence of air pollution is a reality that is beginning to wreak havoc on people's quality of life. As the planet continues to warm and the population grows, the environment you are exposed to becomes more damaging.

What does the World Health Organization propose?

As has been talked about, fleeing from the polluting particles that produce gas emissions throughout the world is practically impossible. These particles easily manage to evade the defense system and, therefore, penetrate the lungs, heart and brain.

However, the WHO and its concern about the issue has led to the creation of the First World Conference on Air Pollution and Health. This event will be held in Geneva from October 29 to November 1 and seeks to create a consensus among all countries, whose objective is that they commit to finding real solutions to this problem.

During this conference, substantive issues such as air quality monitoring, the preparation of health personnel, children's health, access to clean energy, the risks of climate change, diseases caused by pollution and how to protect workers exposed to the open air.

What to do to reduce the risk of poor air quality?

The climate crisis is really a public health crisis. According to WHO data, around the world 93% of those under 18 years of age have to live with pollution levels that exceed those established by the international organization. On the other hand, about 1.2 billion people are exposed daily to pollution in their workplaces due to open field work.

In such a way that the recommendations to reduce the risk of breathing polluted air are the following:

  • Do not walk in the street during busy hours due to vehicular traffic.
  • Try not to spend a lot of time near places where cars are stopped, such as at traffic lights.
  • Perform exercise activities in areas surrounded by nature and away from vehicular traffic.
  • Do not use the vehicle on days when there is a high level of pollution.

What future awaits the next generations?

What happens today with global warming endangers the lives of humans in the next 50 years. This means that future generations will have to deal with the symptoms that the current world is beginning to feel.

That is why reducing the carbon footprint must be a priority for all governments to prevent long-term consequences. However, in recent studies, WHO figures show that diseases such as asthma have their main cause in poor air quality in 14% of children between 5 and 18 years of age.

Likewise, annually more than half a million minors die for the same reason. On the other hand, pregnant women are at risk of brain development problems in their fetuses from exposure to street pollution.

The above are situations that are occurring and could worsen if climate control is not carried out from now on. So, it is essential that international organizations together with governments begin to propose efficient strategies to prevent the decline of humanity in the coming decades.