Climate crisis has been in talks for a while now; from the literates to the illiterates, old to young everyone is able to establish that there is a climatic change that is going on across the globe. However, only a handful of these people know the real reasons and the consequences that it can lead to in the coming future. Continuing on this, UNICEF had recently published a new report stating the countries whose children are most at risk of climate change affecting their health and education. Now here’s where things becomes worrying as India has been mentioned in the report.
India has been ranked amongst 33 other countries in the report that raises concerns over climatic change on children. India is one of the 4 south Asian countries to be listed in this report. The first Children’s Climate Risk Index by UNICEF ranks India at a vulnerable 26 alongside Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who have also made through to this list. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan with have a ranking of 14th, 15th and 16th respectively. The report warns of repeated flooding and air pollution, as environment shocks, leading to adverse socio-economic consequences for kids and women.
The 33 “extremely high-risk” countries, says the report, collectively emit just 9% of global CO2 emissions, while 10 highest emitting countries together account for nearly 70% of global emissions. For instance, China ranks at top accounting for 30.3% of global Co2 emissions, followed by and USA 14.6%. India accounts for much least at 7.1%. In addition, Nepal and Sri Lanka are among the top 65 countries most impacted globally with a ranking of 51 and 61 respectively.
CHILDREN’S CLIMATE RISK INDEX (CRRI)
The Climate Crisis Is a Child Rights Crisis: Introducing the Children’s Climate Risk Index’ (CCRI) is UNICEF’s first focused on children. It ranks countries based on children’s exposure to climate and environmental shocks such as cyclones and heatwaves, as well as their vulnerability to those shocks based on their access to essential services. Approximately 1 billion children live in one of the 33 countries classified as “extremely high-risk”, including the four South Asian countries.
“Climate change is a child rights crisis. The Children’s Climate Change Index data has pointed to the serious deprivations faced by children due to the intensifying effect that climate and environmental shocks have on existing inadequate access to essential services such as water and sanitation, healthcare and education.”Dr Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF India Representative
WHY INDIA AT 26?
It is estimated that more than 600 million Indians will face ‘acute water shortages’ in the coming years, while at the same time flash flooding is to increase significantly in the majority of India’s urban areas once the global temperature increase rises above 2° Celsius. Twenty-one of the world’s 30 cities with the most polluted air in 2020 were in India. Moreover, the repeated flooding and the deteriorating air quality and food security has led India to be mentioned in the report.
Understanding where and how children are uniquely vulnerable to this crisis is crucial to building our resilience and effectively addressing climate change. UNICEF hopes the findings of the report will help prioritise action to protect those most at risk and to ensure that children inherit a liveable planet.
India’s neighbours Nepal is ranked 51st and Sri Lanka 61st. Bhutan is ranked 111th, with children at relatively lower risk due to environmental aberrations.
“For the first time, we have clear evidence of the impact of climate change on millions of children in South Asia. Droughts, floods, air pollution and river erosion across the region have left millions of children homeless and hungry, and without any healthcare and water”.George Laryea-Adjei, UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia
As climatic change and the tension around it grows there is a need to not only point out the obvious mistakes but to rather think of solutions and long term methods that could improve the situation in the country. Climate change is a phenomenon that isn’t going to disappear; it’ll grow to be even worse in the years to come. The developmental projects must be performed by keeping sustainability at the core and the projects should have minimal effects on the nature. With continuous urbanization there is a need to relocate our forests and encourage afforestation. There is also a need to improve the food security as well as improve the standard of drinking water and education in order to elevate security of our future. The availability of adequate and quality food must be ensured so as to decrease the chances of malnourishment in children as well reduce the mortality rates in the country. The medical system also needs to be strengthened and people must be educated with family planning so as to avoid improper growth of their infants. These are some solutions in order to improve child health as well as minimize the effects of climate change. Comment down your views what to do you think should be the steps taken in order to tackle the situation.