This article has been written by Simran from Mody University of Science and Technology, Lakshmangarh, Rajasthan and curated by Dheepika R from ICFAI Law School, Hyderabad.
During the last weeks, the fight against COVID-19 has become the highest priority of more than 200 countries and territories affected by the spread of the disease, through which it is considered as one of the main threats to human mankind. The countries with non-equitable health systems will witness tremendous damage in their economies as well as in their progress in achieving Sustainable development goals. Nature has given us a shrewd message with COVID-19 and ongoing climate change, As, humankind has placed too much pressure on the natural resources with cataclysmic consequences. Transformative steps are needed to be taken to combat this of Climate changes and Covid 19. This Climate Change during Covid-19 pandemic, with over 10 million people affected and around 5 lakhs dead and still counting, represents irreversible threat to human societies and the planet exposed the inequalities and carved the living of social, economic and political structures. So, there is some connection between climate change and Covid-19 that affect the health of life and Planetary health.
Here Planetary health means interdependence health of human civilization and the state of natural systems which work through judicial attention of the human system. In this planetary system humans play a vital role as it affects consumerism, pattern of production and consumption that’s why some scientists refer to the current geographic environment change to be human induced and has dominance on the ecosystems and earth’s change. There are nine Planetary boundaries that determine capacity of the earth system i.e. climate change, biodiversity loss, interference with nitrogen, ozone depletion, changes in land use, acidic ocean, chemical pollution, atmospheric aerosol loading, global freshwater use. If that boundary is crossed it may trigger dysfunctional of earth system. So human health and the health of our planet is interlinked because the civilization is dependent on human health and also helps natural resources. But with the degradation of natural resources in human history, both the health and that of our planet are in danger.
As far as Health means a state of completely well-being socially, politically and mentally. It is not only related to absence of disease or infirmity but also related to enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of heath as it is the fundamental right of every human without distinction of race, caste, colour, gender, religion, social condition as embedded in the preamble of the constitution of WHO.
Do Weather and climate change determine where COVID-19 occurs?
No, there is no conclusive evidence either weather or the climate has a strong influence of transmission. There is one virus i.e. SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes Covid-19 to spread all over the regions of the world, from cold to dry. to hot and humid climates. This is mainly transmitted directly from person-to-person and respiratory droplets are produced when an infected person sneezes or coughs. It is also transmitted through close contact. People may be infected even by touching surfaces but this is not a major transmission route. However, this climate change indirectly affects the Covid-19 disease as environment determination of health and stress on the health system. Due to origination of infectious disease and most pandemics in wildlife human pressure on the natural environment may drive disease emergence.
Air Pollution is the serious cause of risk for infection and effect to control transmission of Covid-19 led to reduce economic activities and temporarily improvements in air quality in some areas .This is just a short term environment benefits which is resulted from Covid-19 , it does not improve the problem of Air quality and climate completely .
How does water scarcity affect infectious disease like Covid-19?
Access to safe water, adequate water and proper sanitization is essential in the community of basic hygiene and reduces the transmission of Covid-19. Access to these services in health facilities is crucial to preventing infections, reducing the spread of antimicrobial resistance and providing quality care. There is a lack of basic water services as it is also one of the healthcare factors. Climate change further threatens the availability of water, production for use, personal hygiene including for infectious disease.
Covid-19 pandemic is a Public Health Emergency which disrupts several communities. Climate change is also a health threat which gradually increases stress. Ensuring access to the environmental determinants of health, such as clean air, water and sanitation, safe and nutritious food, is an essential protection against all health risks. WHO estimates that avoidable environmental risks cause about a quarter of the global health burden. As we know inequality is a major barrier in ensuring health and well-being, especially for the most vulnerable societies. Social and economic inequality reduce the health risk, as these changes will be necessary for both poor as well rich countries so their role of public opinion plays an important part. Climate change and environment priorities can play an important role in preventing and mitigating health crises. The health of the planet and well-being of people are inextricable.
After COVID-19, nothing will be the same. But life can be better. We can recognize what really counts in our lives : being safe and free. We should do what we can to stabilize our environment and to protect the natural resources i.e. our support system. For this we have to think how we can restore nature by living differently as this is the high time. Governments, businesses, the UN, international organizations, scientists and individual citizens need to unite as a single global community to safeguard people from avoidable risks. The Government must closely examine and think about the world post Covid-19 and prepare for what comes next. This action will protect our planet and can be part of our new world. It is clear, as the world grapples with many unknowns, the one thing that is known is that the health of the planet and those that inhabit it are closely linked.