Washington, Jan 25: Fluctuating climate can have a devastating impact on human health, says an expert. While writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Professor McMichael, from the Australian National University highlighted that climate change poses a huge threat to human health and requires bold environmental policy decisions to protect global population.
"The threat to human health is of a more fundamental kind than is the threat to the world's economic system. Climate change is beginning to damage our natural life-support system," said McMichael. According to World Health Organisation a quarter of the world's diseases are caused due to the contamination of air, water, soil and food, particularly from respiratory infections and diarrhoeal disease.
Professor McMichael said that climate change would also alter the incidence, range and seasonality of many existing health disorders.
"Climate change, will make these and other diseases worse. While it is unlikely to cause entirely new diseases it will alter the incidence, range and seasonality of many existing health disorders.
"So, for example, by 2080 between 20 and 70 million more people could be living in malarial regions due to climate change," he said.
He believes that low-income countries and vulnerable sub-populations will have a much greater impact than the rich countries.
"Poverty cannot be eliminated while environmental degradation exacerbates malnutrition, disease and injury," he said.
"Food supplies need continuing soil fertility, climatic stability, freshwater supplies and ecological support (such as pollination). Infectious diseases cannot be stabilised in circumstances of climatic instability, refugee flows and impoverishment," he added.
McMichael insists that more bold and far-sighted policy decisions are required at national and international level to arrest the process.