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Effects of Global Warming on Human Health

For the past 50 years, human activities that include the burning of fossil fuels have increased at an alarming rate. The result has been a build-up of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These gases trap the heat in the lower side of the atmosphere and leads to changes in the global climate. Additionally, the change in climate has led to the glaciers melting and hence causing a rise in the sea levels. Although global warming may bring some benefits with it, its effects on human health are overwhelming.

The extreme high temperatures brought about by the build-up of heat in the atmosphere contribute to cases of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. These diseases lead to death most especially among the elderly people. For example, the excessive heat that occurred in Europe in 2003 resulted in the deaths of more than 70,000 people. The increase in temperatures also leads to the rise of ozone levels and other air pollutants that worsen the case of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. In fact, air pollution causes death of approximately 1.2 million people each year. The extreme heat also increases the level of pollen and other aeroallergens in the atmosphere. These may trigger the emergence of asthma that affects about 300 million people worldwide.

Since the early 1960s, the number of related natural calamities has more than doubled globally. These disasters lead to deaths of more than 60,000 people every year, most notably among the developing countries. The rise in the level of the sea and extreme weather patterns lead to the destruction of medical facilities, homes, and other essential services. According to Gaughen, more than a billion people live within a distance of 60 km away from the sea. Therefore, occurrence of these disasters may force people to relocate and in turn, the risk of health effects heightens. These people become prone to some communicable diseases and other mental disorders. Increasingly, the change in rainfall patterns result in scarcity of fresh water. The lack of clean and safe water compromises the hygiene and the risk of contracting diarrhea increases. Diarrhea causes death of more than 2 million people every year.

The policy makers and individuals in different countries can help reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. The reduction will bring about an improvement in health of many people. For example, if people promote the use of public transport instead of the private means, it would lead to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and leads to improvement in health.

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