Climate change linked to increase in diseases

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By Sarwat Ghulam Rasool

KARACHI: A recently conducted study has revealed that in the last two years, the city has seen more people die in winters, possibly due to the fall in winter temperatures in comparison with previous years.
The climate change has increased the rates of cardiovascular diseases, stress, psychological disorders and skin diseases, revealed a research of the European Union carried out by the University of Karachi
(KU) Department of Sociology faculty members.
It was discovered that the climate change might be the result of the green house effect, which is the heat trapping process by the atmosphere of the earth. Green house gases include carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen.
“Due to the climatic changes, the death rate has increased among people of all ages. The death rates are higher in winters as compared to summers,” the study revealed. The European Union funded study was launched to find the reason behind the abnormal temperature changes in the city. During the study, the research team found that many cardiovascular-related deaths are induced by cold weather.
“Deaths from cardiovascular diseases were 50 percent greater in mid-winter than in mid-summer both in men and women of different age groups during 1976 to 1985,” the study further revealed.
The research team has also found that increasing pollution due to the increase of vehicles and industrial units in most the congested areas of the city has changed the weather pattern which is leading to all sorts of health problems. “Though the increasing pollution is the cause behind the change in the city’s temperature, however, the changes in the architectural structures is creating dangerous heat-zones in most congested residential and commercial areas where the summer heat is trapped,” said KU Department of Sociology faculty member Prof Dr Nabeel Ahmad Zubairi. During the study, the team discovered that due to the decreasing urban forests, increasing number of vehicles and industrial units, down town areas including Garden Road, Tibet Center, Maulvi Musafir Khana, Tower, Karimabad, Liaquatadbad No 10, and Gurumander have became one of the most polluted areas in the city.
The data collected shows a correlation between the atmospheric temperature and cardiovascular diseases from January to July. Patient registration in hospitals increases with the change in atmospheric temperature hence showing a positive relation between the decrease in temperature and the number of patients registered at a cardiovascular institute in Karachi.\12\22\story_22-12-2008_pg12_8


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