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Business News/ News / India/  Lethal heatwave: More Indians are dying due to high temperature
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Lethal heatwave: More Indians are dying due to high temperature

India saw a 55% increase in deaths due to extreme heat between 2000-2004 and 2017-2021, found the Lancet research. It has also estimated that the burning of fossil fuel has led to more than 3,30,000 deaths in India in 2021

The Lancet study has found that more Indians are dying due to extreme heat in IndiaPremium
The Lancet study has found that more Indians are dying due to extreme heat in India

With changing weather patterns and rising extremities every season, a recent study has found that India saw a 55% increase in deaths due to extreme heat between 2000-2004 and 2017-2021.

After a study revealing an income loss of 5.4% of India’s GDP due to heat waves, The Lancet has found that in India there was a 55% rise in deaths due to extreme heat. The Lancet study also noted that excessive heat also led to a loss of 167.2 billion potential labour hours among Indians in 2021.

The loss of labour hours led to a loss of income which is equal to 5.4% of the country’s GDP, says research.

It is worth noting that the events of heatwave have increased tremendously in the past few years in India. Experts say that while some places receive heat waves during the whole year, summers have become unbearable in many parts of the country.

Climate change is a key factor in a rising heatwave in India

The recently launched Lancet Countdown report looked at 103 countries of the world. The study has revealed that the heatwave which hit India and its neighbour, Pakistan, between March and April increased due to climate change. It was reported to occur 30 times more because of climate change.

"Exposure to extreme heat affects health directly, exacerbating underlying conditions such as cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and causing heat stroke, adverse pregnancy outcomes, worsened sleep patterns, poor mental health, and increased injury-related death," the study noted, adding that vulnerable populations were most at risk.

Another study done by the UK’s Met Office found that climate change had made record-breaking heat waves in northwest India and Pakistan 100 times more likely. Climate change has contributed majorly to making summer hotter as extreme temperatures would occur once every 312 years without climate change.

Talking about the global impact of climate change, the Lancet report found that global heat-related deaths have increased by two-thirds over the last two decades.

More than 3 lakh people died due to the burning of fossil fuel

The study has estimated that the burning of fossil fuel has led to more than three lakh thirty thousand deaths in India in 2021. These deaths are mainly the result of exposure to particulate matter-tiny particles that can clog the lungs. These particles emanate from the burning of fossil fuels and mix in the atmosphere.

The dependence on fossil fuels like oil, natural gas, and biomass increased average household concentrations of particulate matter. The increase has surpassed the set limit recommended by the World Health Organisation. The particulate matter in the atmosphere has grown by 27-fold from the recommended limit in the country, the report said.

The report has been released ahead of the COP 27 climate conference which will be held in November in Egypt.

Responding to the climate crisis report, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, said “The climate crisis is killing us."

He also said that the climate crisis is not only undermining the health of the planet but also of the people living on it through toxic air pollution, diminishing food security, higher risks of infectious disease outbreaks, record extreme heat, drought, floods, and whatnot.

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Published: 26 Oct 2022, 03:48 PM IST
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