Scores of people across the length and breadth of the country are feeling the impact of rising global temperate as a result of global warming. This year alone, scores of people lost their lives to heat wave across parts of India, with at least 17 people dying in Andhra Pradesh alone.
Soaring temperatures In India will soon make living unbearable. Extreme heat is destroying the livelihood and health of millions of people and the economists and scientists warn that increasing temperature may sound the death knell for citizens.
The continuous emission of global greenhouse gas could make heat and humidity levels rise to an extent where it will be unbearable in some parts of the country, especially for the poor.
Heat could also magnify the already existing urban problems and shortage of resources, such as water and electricity.
Recently, an analysis of climate change in some of the biggest cities of South Asia found that if the current rise in heat continues, wet bulb temperatures – which indicates the point when the body cannot cool itself any longer – would be high enough to kill anyone who is exposed for six hours.
The alarm bell rang for the country’s National Disaster Management Agency when Ahmedabad, which is normally a hot city, was struck by an almost unbearable heat wave in 2010. Temperatures soared to 48 degrees Celsius, resulting in a 43 per cent increase in mortality as compared to previous years, according to a study.
Not just Ahmedabad, 24 among the 100 most populous cities in the world, where heat level may reach at least 95 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050, are in India.
Not everybody is privileged enough to spend the hot days in an air-conditioned room. Take the Kolkata street vendors and construction workers across the country for example.
Think of the men who drive around the city delivering food from door to door. Most importantly, those who are poor or homeless.
Rising temperature is soon becoming a major health hazard, one that government must deal on a policy level, rather than precautionary grounds.
For a developing country like India, which has limited alternatives but to use non-renewable sources to meet its energy demand, treating global warming as a public health emergency is all the more crucial.