World, Environment

Climate change causing disease outbreak, mental issues in Bangladesh

World Bank report blames climate change for respiratory, mosquito-borne diseases, reorganizing mental illness

SM Najmus Sakib   | 08.10.2021
Climate change causing disease outbreak, mental issues in Bangladesh

DHAKA, Bangladesh

The Climate Afflictions Report of the World Bank has found a link between the shifting climatic conditions and the increase in respiratory, waterborne, and mosquito-borne diseases as well as mental health issues in Bangladesh.

With further climate change predicted, more physical and mental health issues are likely to emerge. The most vulnerable are children and the elderly, and those living in large cities like Dhaka and Chattogram, it added in the report on Thursday.

Over the past 44 years, Bangladesh experienced a 0.5°C temperature increase. The summers are getting hotter and longer, winters are warmer, and the monsoon seasons are being extended from February to October.

By 2050, the temperatures are predicted to rise by 1.4°C in Bangladesh.

Dr. Shahriar Hossain, an environment expert, told Anadolu Agency that temperature rise is blamed for the outbreak of virus and disease. When the temperature gets raised, water and air-borne diseases see an environment for spreading out.

"Disease like dengue fever is a waterborne disease and it grows with temperature rise. Temperature rise and use of chemicals and pest control on soil kill environment-friendly bacteria and insects which ultimately create an adverse impact on nature."

In the past two years, we have seen an increase in using those chemicals and pest control in the pandemic, he mentioned.

The killing of friendly bacteria and insects are helping to raise the number of bad viruses, bacteria and insects which contribute to spreading a number of diseases among population, Hossain, who is also the secretary general of the Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO), explained.

"Meanwhile, climate change directly affects human mental health and behavior. Hot weather and shifting temperature cause discomfort for mentally ill patients and reorganize their illness," the expert mentioned.

Erratic weather conditions played a key role in the 2019 dengue outbreak in Dhaka city, where 77% of the country's total dengue-related deaths occurred, the new report added.

That year, Dhaka recorded more than three times the average February rainfall, followed by high temperature and humidity between March and July.

Respiratory illness rises with the increase in temperature and humidity. More people suffer from depression during winter while the level of anxiety disorders increases with temperature and humidity, the World Bank report added.

"With more evidence showing a pronounced impact of climate change on physical and mental health, Bangladesh needs to build on its success in adaptations to ensure a stronger health system that averts outbreaks of emerging climate-sensitive diseases," said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.

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