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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

How children are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change?

In many parts of the world, people are facing multiple climate-related impacts such as severe drought and flooding, air pollution and water scarcity, leaving their children vulnerable to malnutrition and disease. Almost every child on earth is exposed to at least one of these climate and environmental hazards. Without urgent action, this number will go up.

Climate change has begun to have direct effects on humans. This has been exposed by a study by the Australian Global Health Alliance that affirms that the climate crisis can cause mental deficiencies, birth defects, and even obesity in people, especially children

According to the study, in which the inhabitants of the Asian Pacific have been taken as a reference, the organization’s experts have observed that pregnant women who have suffered some type of natural disaster, usually associated with climate change, have had children with reduced cognitive ability.

This manifests itself at two years with the loss of at least 14 IQ points, as well as a lower vocabulary. While, in the long term, the study has revealed deficiencies in the learning process, obesity and mental problems.

Read more: All countries should take action on climate change: Turkey

Important points from the study

The study has also pointed out that increased heat can cause or exacerbate pandemics such as Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases, and aggravate other problems due to the deterioration of air and water quality such as asthma, allergies, pneumonia, or diarrhea.

Likewise, rising sea levels or natural disasters can deplete crops, which can cause a greater problem of malnutrition among vulnerable populations, according to the study, which indicates that grain crops such as corn, wheat, and rice or soybeans will fall by at least 10% in 2050.

The Spanish Society of Out-of-hospital Pediatrics for Primary Care, for its part, has warned that environmental problems can cause neurobehavioral disorders, attention deficit, hyperactivity, and even worse lung function in children.

“The impact of the environment on children is much greater than on adults, because their behavior, their height and the fact that they breathe more air per kilogram of weight than adults and eat more food and more water in proportion make them more vulnerable to environmental toxins in a period in which, in addition, the mechanisms to eliminate toxins from the body have not yet been developed”, highlighted Antonio Ortega, pediatrician, and environmental researcher.

Read more: Covid-19 and climate change, the UN prime focus

In addition, the expert recalled that the chemical cocktail of substances used in daily life that weigh more than air are concentrated less than one meter high. For this reason, in his opinion, the Health and Environment departments of the autonomous communities should “be united” because both air and water can affect the health of the population.

SEPEAP has recalled that children who spend more time playing in the park “have a better academic index”, so it has opted to reconnect children with an extra dose of nature as the best vaccine because it will save children a lot of damage in the coming years.

Disorders in animals

Traditionally, studies on how global change is affecting marine organisms have focused on physiological effects, despite the fact that these are also undergoing changes in their behavior due to this phenomenon. Studies investigated on cormorants revealed that increased water turbidity due to nutrient contamination and more frequent cloudbursts can degrade light transmission and reduce foraging success among these predators.

Read more: On climate change and Covid-19, world is moving in wrong direction, UN chief

“If we can better illuminate where climate change stressors affect the sensory pathway of these animals, then we can develop more targeted and effective conservation and management efforts,” said study co-author Erin Satterthwaite.

The writer is a Journalist based in Indian-occupied Kashmir. He writes about the environment-related issues, Climate Change in South Aisa, and is a Media Fellow with NFI India. He can be reached at bwahid32@gmail.com. The views expressed by the writers do not necessarily represent Global Village Space’s editorial policy.