Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine   Official publication of Indian Association of  0ccupational  Health  
 Print this page Email this page   Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size
 Users Online:1522

  IAOH | Subscription | e-Alerts | Feedback | Login 

Home About us Current Issue Archives Search Instructions
   Next article
   Previous article 
   Table of Contents
    Similar in PUBMED
     Search Pubmed for
     Search in Google Scholar for
    Article in PDF (237 KB)
    Citation Manager
    Access Statistics
    Reader Comments
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded183    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 2    

Recommend this journal


Year : 2010  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-2

Environmental concerns and climate change: Need for proactive participation

Editor, IJOEM, General Manager, Siemens Ltd., Medicare and OHS, Thane - Belapur Road, Thane - 400 601, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication24-Jun-2010

Correspondence Address:
Ganesh Kulkarni
Editor, IJOEM, General Manager, Siemens Ltd., Medicare and OHS, Thane - Belapur Road, Thane - 400 601, Maharashtra
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5278.64606

Rights and Permissions


How to cite this article:
Kulkarni G. Environmental concerns and climate change: Need for proactive participation. Indian J Occup Environ Med 2010;14:1-2

How to cite this URL:
Kulkarni G. Environmental concerns and climate change: Need for proactive participation. Indian J Occup Environ Med [serial online] 2010 [cited 2022 Jul 6];14:1-2. Available from:

It was 100 years ago that concerns were raised on continued burning of fossil fuels which would contribute to increased levels of carbon dioxide to earth's atmosphere and lead the way for climate change. The rapid industrialization and careless attitude by the mankind lead to environmental deterioration. It is only toward the end of 20 th century that Governments and concerned environmental activists started wondering whether inappropriate human actions were influencing the earth's climate.

As we observe World Environment Day on 5 June, we shall put the spotlight on environmental issues and its importance in our role as medical practitioners. With heated discussions during the Copenhagen Summit in 2009 and the recent environmental talks in Bonn, Germany, climate change and other environmental concerns are being recognized by people from diverse fields all over the world. While the climate change skeptics believe that climate change is not an anthropogenic problem, we can see examples, particularly in the developing world of the devastation caused by climate change---cyclones in Orissa and Bangladesh, rising water levels in the Maldives, desertification in north-west Africa, land loss in the small island nations of the Pacific, heat waves in Europe, and changing weather patterns. Global international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol may have shed some light on the issue of climate change; however, its real impact is being felt in the poorest countries and by the poorest people. In addition to physical challenges, climate change is an ethical challenge because those who are affected most by it are the ones who are least responsible for it. The poor who lack physical, financial, and other resources are most vulnerable to this change and fail to adapt successfully to cope with climate risk. Changing rainfall patterns have rendered farmers helpless and have also left more than a billion people without access to safe drinking water. Natural disasters have created several environmental refugees, particularly in Africa and South Asia.

The negative impacts of climate change on human health are also quite daunting. Evidence has shown that sub-Saharan Africa and coastal areas of the Indian and Pacific ocean will be most seriously affected and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1,50,000 deaths a year are already being caused by climate change. Climate change is said to affect human health through heat waves and droughts and also through the rapid spread of infectious diseases. It is also expected to affect human health due to deteriorating air quality and malnutrition caused by declining agricultural yield and production. Changes in global temperatures have disproportionately affected the tropics causing deaths directly linked to extreme heat or cold and the depletion of water resources. Rising temperatures have also changed the range of infective parasites, thereby increasing the risk of contracting "vector-borne" diseases like malaria, dengue, yellow fever, and encephalitis. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has indicated that the global population at a risk of vector-borne malaria due to climate change is slated to increase by 220 million to 400 million in the next century.

The quality of medical care available to the people in the affected regions will therefore play a major role in determining how well these populations are able to adapt to changes in our environment. Clearly, environmental change today poses a huge challenge for the medical community. As practitioners of occupational health services, we must put environmental concerns at the top of our agenda. This can be done by monitoring industrial hygiene, vector control, air quality control, medical waste treatment, hazardous materials management, toxic chemical exposure, and radiological health. Disaster preparedness and timely medical response should also form a key component of our occupation. As medical practitioners it is our duty to press for positive environmental changes within the workplace and even elsewhere. By making medical practice more sensitive to environmental concerns, we have the power to safeguard human health and help populations adapt to changes in the environment.

Governments and businesses have now started adopting a 'green' agenda and promoting environmentally sound practices that reduce their overall carbon footprint. While some may argue that this is enough, the enormity of the problem demands that each one of us do our bit toward conserving the environment. So start today, this very moment and do your bit !

This article has been cited by
1 Abandoned wells multigeneration system: promising zero CO2 emission geothermal energy system
Muhammad Nihal Naseer, Younes Noorollahi, Asad A. Zaidi, Yasmin Abdul Wahab, Mohd Rafie Johan, Irfan Anjum Badruddin
International Journal of Energy and Environmental Engineering. 2022;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Impacts of climate hazards on coastal livelihoods in Ghana: the case of Ningo-Prampram in the Greater Accra region
George Darko, Shuoben Bi, Isaac Sarfo, Solomon Obiri Yeboah Amankwah, Folorunso Ewumi Azeez, Emmanuel Yeboah, Collins Oduro, Emmanuel Adu Gyamfi Kedjanyi, Bright Archer, Andrews Awuah
Environment, Development and Sustainability. 2021;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Print this article  Email this article
Previous article Next article