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Table of Contents
SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 297-298

Ameliorating the consequences of climate change in small islands


1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission05-Nov-2019
Date of Decision25-May-2020
Date of Acceptance30-Sep-2020
Date of Web Publication27-Nov-2020

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/am.am_69_19

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  Abstract 


In general, small islands are very small in physical dimensions, situated far away from the major lands, possess minimal natural resources, with an unstable economy and limited infrastructure, financial and human resources. It has been observed that these small islands are exposed to extreme weather changes, which essentially casts a negative impact on health. There is an immense need to formulate and implement a wide range of strategies and policies targeting the burden of climate-sensitive diseases or other hazardous events. In conclusion, owing to the multi-dimensional impact of climate change in small islands on the residents, it is very important for the policy makers to prioritize the issue and manage the available resources. However, it is important to involve all the concerned sectors to have a better and a more effective response.

Keywords: Climate, Small islands, Disasters


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Ameliorating the consequences of climate change in small islands. Apollo Med 2020;17:297-8

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Ameliorating the consequences of climate change in small islands. Apollo Med [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 18];17:297-8. Available from: https://www.apollomedicine.org/text.asp?2020/17/4/297/301725




  Introduction Top


In general, small islands are very small in physical dimensions, situated far away from the major lands, possess minimal natural resources, with an unstable economy and limited infrastructure, financial and human resources.[1] It has been observed that these small islands are exposed to extreme weather changes (like increased global average temperature, rise in sea levels, etc.), which essentially casts a negative impact on health.[1] On the global front, it has been estimated that on an annual basis, climate change will account for $ US 3 billion as direct health expenses.[2] Further, it has been reported that 65 million small island residents' will be the most vulnerable to various climate adversities.[2]

Consequences of climate change

In-fact, there has been a significant change in the frequency and severity of natural climatic disasters which has been reported in these small islands. Small islands have a high predisposition for coastal flooding, storms, salination of island fresh water, impact on the coastal ecosystems and significant amount of population displacement.[1] In terms of health effects, there has been reports of increase in the incidence of drowning, injuries, aggravated pattern of disease transmission, reduction in agricultural outcome, and poor mental outcomes.[1],[2],[3] It won't be wrong to document that it is difficult to estimate the real health burden of these climate events.

Need of the hour

We have to acknowledge and accept that these small islands have a limited capacity to adapt to these climate events.[2] Thus, there is an immense need to formulate and implement a wide range of strategies and policies targeting the burden of climate-sensitive diseases or other hazardous events. The need of the hour is to develop an early-warning system which can increase the preparedness and mitigation efforts. At the same time, these small islands have to simultaneously build their capacity so that climate and health early-warning systems can be merged together.[2],[3],[4]

Strengthening preparedness and response activities

Further, the role of strategies like strengthening of the health education programs, improvement in health infrastructure, disaster preparedness plans, vector monitoring and control, etc., also needs to be given due attention.[1],[4] We have to also divert the available resources towards improving the ability to predict climate variations, which will also aid the local communities to be prepared for the effects of climate change. In order to manage rise in sea-levels, it is important to abandon low-level areas, construct taller buildings, grow salt-tolerant crops, add sand & stone to the existing beaches, and use vegetation to stabilize beaches.[1],[3],[4]


  Conclusion Top


In conclusion, owing to the multi-dimensional impact of climate change in small islands on the residents, it is very important for the policy makers to prioritize the issue and manage the available resources. However, it is important to involve all the concerned sectors to have a better and a more effective response.



 
  References Top

1.
Ebi KL, Lewis ND, Corvalan C. Climate variability and change and their potential health effects in small island states: information for adaptation planning in the health sector. Environ Health Perspect 2006;114:1957-63.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Ghebreyesus TA, Espinosa P. Health, climate and small island states. Bull World Health Organ 2018;96:78-78A.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Necessity to address the challenge of climate change and its consequences in small islands. Mustansiriya Med J 2019;18:57.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Hernandez Y, Guimarães Pereira Â, Barbosa P. Resilient futures of a small island: A participatory approach in Tenerife (Canary Islands) to address climate change. Environ Sci Policy 2018;80:28-37.  Back to cited text no. 4
    




 

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