India is on track to surpass China as the most populous nation in the world. It is also in risk of exceeding the point at which humans can no longer survive in the heat. India is already experiencing heatwaves in the month of March.
Following the hottest February India has experienced since 1901. The national weather office has predicted higher temperatures in the upcoming weeks. It has raised worries that there will be another record-breaking heat wave. Like the one that devastated crops and led to lengthy outages last year.
Even though temperatures as high as 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) are intolerable in any circumstance. The harm is exacerbated for India’s 1.4 billion inhabitants who are confined to densely populated cities. The same do not have access to well-ventilated housing or air conditioning.
Why is India experiencing such extreme heatwaves?
It is useful to divide the temperature during a heat wave into two components. The background temperature, which is the monthly average temperature, and the anomaly, which is the amount that the current weather has contributed or deducted. Since the pre-industrial era, the background temperature has risen by around 1.5°C over India.
As a result, given all other factors being equal, the current heat wave weather patterns would be connected to temperatures that are 1.5°C greater than they would have been a century ago. Other contributing factors include the urban heat island effect. The same has raised the background temperature by about 2°C over some cities. Deforestation is another factor.
How will it affect the people?
Unusually hot pre-monsoon periods are also linked to lower labour productivity, particularly in outdoor industries like construction and agriculture. Increased demand for cooling, which can tax the power grid and raise greenhouse gas emissions. Also general health risks, like heatstroke, which particularly impact children, the elderly, and low-income communities.
Health Ministry’s suggestions to people to tackle the heatwaves:
Additionally, it has advised using Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS), consuming homemade beverages such lemon water, butter milk/lassi, and fruit juices with salt added, and being inside in cool and well-ventilated areas.
Residents also have been advised to consume fresh fruits like watermelon, cucumber, lemon, and oranges, wear thin, loose cotton clothing, preferably light-colored clothing, cover their heads when exposed to direct sunlight with an umbrella, hat, cap, towel, or other traditional head gear, and avoid going barefoot outside.
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