Every year, environmental factors claim the lives of approximately 13 million people globally, accounting for one-fifth of total deaths. This sobering statistic underscores the undeniable truth — environmental issues represent the most significant health threat facing humanity today. While many nations and institutions have recognised the vulnerability of the healthcare sector to these environmental challenges, resource allocation tells a different story. Shockingly, less than 2 per cent of multilateral climate finance is directed toward projects aimed at addressing these critical issues.
The intricate interplay between climate change and health is a complex web of cause and effect. It originates from the daily activities we undertake — from transportation to industrial growth, energy consumption and even animal husbandry. These actions release pollutants such as CO2, methane and particulates into the environment, eventually culminating in temperature rise, air pollution, floods, droughts and other environmental crises. The chain reaction sets the stage for mass-scale diseases such as respiratory, cardiovascular, cancer, vector-borne, waterborne, newborn, mental and heat-related illnesses, besides forced migrations.