The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
India Heat Wave Kills 800+ and Literally Melts the Roads
India is in the midst of a major heat wave, which has killed at least 800 people and melted roads in New Delhi as temperatures neared 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius). India's Meteorological Department issued heat warnings to several states where temperatures are projected to reach beyond 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius) over the next few days, according to AFP.
— Imgur (@imgur) May 26, 2015
The worst-hit state Andhra Pradesh in southern India has recorded 551 deaths in the last week alone. Every summer, across the country, hundreds of Indians, especially the poorest members of society, die from extreme heat, while tens of thousands deal with power outages from an overstrained electric grid as air conditioning use soars, reports AFP.
But this summer season is particularly bad, the most severe since 2010 when an estimated 250 people died from heat-related causes, which was said to be the worst since record-keeping began in the 1800s. The maximum temperature in the capital hit a two-year high of 45.5 degrees Celsius on Monday, which is five degrees higher than the seasonal average, reports the Hindustan Times. And, the death toll from heat mortality could be much higher than estimated because, according to Scroll.in, "the government counts only death by heat stroke and heat exhaustion as heat wave deaths. The narrow definition does not account for the way 'heat exposure stresses underlying physiological systems,' a study on heat mortality in Ahmedabad said."
The study found that "mortality rates in Ahmedabad were 43 percent higher in May 2010 when the city experienced a heat wave as compared to the same days in 2009 and 2011," says Scroll.in. "An excess of 1,344 deaths occurred in May 2010, relative to the average for the years before and after."
And heat waves are expected to intensify around the globe in the future, according to a report last month from climate scientists. Over the last century, India has become hotter and hotter and will continue to see a rise in the number of hot days. "The heat waves are projected to be more intense, have longer durations and occur at a higher frequency and earlier in the year," said the researchers.
— Mashable (@mashable) May 26, 2015
The Indian government has come under intense criticism for its failure to respond to rising temperatures. "The Central government and the National Disaster Management Authority have not put in place preventive measures for the summer nor do they have any curative plans lined up after the large number of casualties," says Scroll.in. "The union home ministry has not even declared a heat wave as a 'national disaster.'"
One city, though, is stepping up to the plate: Ahmedabad. The city's Heat Action Plan, in place since 2013, is a four-point strategy developed by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, Indian Institute of Public Health, Natural Resources Defense Council and Georgia Institute of Technology:
- Education and outreach to raise awareness about the risk of heat illness and preventive measures to take.
- A heat alert system in the case of a heat wave with directives for various governmental agencies.
- Training for health care professionals to be better equipped to respond to heat-related illnesses.
- Future adaption: mapping high-risk areas, making potable water easily accessible and building temporary cooling spaces during periods of extreme heat.
Going forward, India will need to develop a nation-wide heat action plan as France, the UK, Australia and other countries have done to deal with increasing, deadly heat waves.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Daisy Brickhill
Each morning, men living in fishing communities along Ghana's coastline push off in search of the day's catch. But when the boats come back to shore, it's the women who take over.
By Sam Nickerson
Links between excess sugar in your diet and disease have been well-documented, but new research by Harvard's School of Public Health might make you even more wary of that next soda: it could increase your risk of an early death.
The study, published this week in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, found that drinking one or two sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) each day — like sodas or sports drinks — increases risk of an early death by 14 percent.
Tyson Foods Recalls Nearly 70,000 Pounds of Chicken Strips After Customers Find ‘Fragments of Metal’
Tyson Foods is recalling approximately 69,093 pounds of frozen chicken strips because they may have been contaminated with pieces of metal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Thursday.
The affected products were fully-cooked "Buffalo Style" and "Crispy" chicken strips with a "use by" date of Nov. 30, 2019 and an establishment number of "P-7221" on the back of the package.
"FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers' freezers," the recall notice said. "Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase."
Environmental exposure to pesticides, both before birth and during the first year of life, has been linked to an increased risk of developing autism spectrum disorder, according to the largest epidemiological study to date on the connection.
The study, published Wednesday in BMJ, found that pregnant women who lived within 2,000 meters (approximately 1.2 miles) of a highly-sprayed agricultural area in California had children who were 10 to 16 percent more likely to develop autism and 30 percent more likely to develop severe autism that impacted their intellectual ability. If the children were exposed to pesticides during their first year of life, the risk they would develop autism went up to 50 percent.
ExxonMobil could be the second company after Monsanto to lose lobbying access to members of European Parliament after it failed to turn up to a hearing Thursday into whether or not the oil giant knowingly spread false information about climate change.
The call to ban the company was submitted by Green Member of European Parliament (MEP) Molly Scott Cato and should be decided in a vote in late April, The Guardian reported.
Bernie Sanders has become the first contender in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary field to pledge to offset all of the greenhouse gas emissions released by campaign travel, The Huffington Post reported Thursday.