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Curbing climate change could save millions of lives – WHO

by admin   |   Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: The World Health Organization (WHO) logo is pictured at the entrance of its headquarters in Geneva, January 25, 2015. REUTERS/PIERRE ALBOUY

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday (December 5) that mitigating climate change would save millions of lives at a global level.

According to WHO, exposure to pollution results in seven million deaths every year. The organization says climate change affects a number of diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, lung cancer, stroke or ischemic heart diseases.

Speaking during COP24, United Nations talks on climate change in Katowice, Poland, WHO’s head of environmental determinants of health, Maria Neira said a number of pulmonary and heart diseases caused by pollution were not included in decision-making processes and documents related to climate change.

Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, a team leader for climate change and health with WHO, added that health benefits of meeting the 2 Degree C Goal, which aims to cap a rise in average surface temperatures at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), are approximately twice the value of what it would cost to implement that mitigation at the global level.

COP24 talks are billed as the most important U.N. conference since the landmark Paris 2015 deal on climate change. Over the next two weeks, the aim is to make an end-of-year deadline for agreeing on a rule book on how to enforce global action to limit further warming of the planet. — Reuters

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Northward shift of typhoon tracks brings more rain to PH – Pinoy scientist

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

Men watch waves crash at the coast as Typhoon Nepartak approaches in Yilan, Taiwan July 7, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

MANILA, Philippines – An average of 19 to 20 tropical cyclones enter the Philippine area of responsibility every year, eight to nine of which hit landmass.

A study conducted by Dr. Gerry Bagtasa of the U.P. Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology revealed that typhoon tracks have changed in the past five decades due to climate change.

Since 2000, Bagtasa explained, tropical cyclones used to hit Mindanao just like tropical storm ‘Pablo’ in 2012 and ‘Sendong’ in 2011.

However, recent observations showed that more cyclones are taking the upward direction towards Taiwan and are bringing more rains into the country than in previous years.

Dr. Bagtasa said that while tropical cyclones enhance the southwest monsoon, about 30% of rainfall is added to the volume of rains the country experiences during a weather disturbance.

When a tropical cyclone makes landfall or directly hits the country, about 10% to 15% of rain is added, the environmental scientist said.

Dr. Bagtasa noted that in the 60’s, the Philippines used to have only up to 18 days of heavy rains due to enhanced southwest monsoon in a year.

But this has changed in the recent years as the country now experiences up to 26 days or almost a month of heavy rains in one year.

“Ang bagyo kasi kapag nasa tabi siya ng Taiwan, iyon ang humihila ng Habagat. Ngayon mas marami ang bagyong pumupunta roon, (Cyclones enhance habagat when it nears Taiwan. More cyclones are taking that direction now,)” Bagtasa said.

Based on his study, Dr. Bagtasa believes the typhoon track will change further as cyclones will move even upward and cross Japan from the years 2025 to 2050.

Possibly, he said, this will reduce the amount of rains in the Philippines and will bring huge impact on the water level in dams.

“Imagine natin kung nawala itong bagyong ito, kalahati ng tubig natin mawawala, kalahati ng fresh water, (Imagine us without cyclones. Half of our water source would diminish, half of our fresh water supply,) he added.

Dr. Bagtasa attributed this change in typhoon track to climate change.

“Maaaring manifestation ito ng climate change, (This can be a manifestation of climate change,) he said.

“Kasi sa nakikita ng ibang mga pagaaral sa paginit ng karagatan dito sa may Indonesia, pag umiinit yung dagat doon yung mga bagyo medyo umaakyat papuntang Taiwan, (Based on studies on the warming of sea surface temperature in Indonesia, when the ocean gets hotter, cyclones move upward, towards the direction of Taiwan,) he said further.

He noted that carbon dioxide (CO2) contributes largely to the warming of the global temperature.

Emissions of CO2 can be traced back in the 17th century and through time, it reaches to a historic high of 406 parts per million.

Though there were attempts to reduce it to 350 parts per million in the past decade, it instead increased year after year.

“Nagsunog tayo ng coal or gasolina, ang lalabas na carbon dioxide, (When we burn coal or petroleum, it emits carbon dioxide,)” Dr. Bagtasa explained.

“Ang kalahati niyan ma-a-abosorb ng karagatan at saka ng mga plants. Ang kalahati ang mag-i-stay siya sa atmosphere for 100 years at ipon lang siya ng ipon, (Half of which is absorbed by the ocean and plants. The other half stays in the atmosphere for the next 100 years, and continues to accumulate,)” he warned.

As compared to other countries, Dr. Bagtasa noted, the Philippines contribute only less than 1% to the global CO2 emissions while developed nations like China, America and the European Union produce 60%. – with details from Rey Pelayo

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Dengue on the rise: How to protect your family against dengue virus

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday declared a national alert due to spiking dengue cases in several regions.

READ: DOH declares dengue alert in several regions

Data from the DOH showed that from January 1 to June 29, 2019, there have been 106,630 dengue cases this year. This is 85 percent higher than the 57,564 cases reported in the same period in 2018.

Regions where the dengue alert was raised include Regions 1, 2, 4A, 5, 8, 9, 11, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), and the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection commonly occurring in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world, including the Philippines.

The dengue virus (DEN) comprises four distinct serotypes (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4) which belong to the genus Flavivirus, family Flaviviridae.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the main vector that transmits the viruses that cause dengue. The viruses are passed on to humans through the bites of an infective female Aedes mosquito, which mainly acquires the virus while feeding on the blood of an infected person.

How dengue virus affects your body?

Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Cybele Abad, in an interview with UNTV Digital program Lifesaver, said that when dengue virus enters the human body, it spreads through blood and infects the cells by binding itself to the cell membrane.

When this happens, an infected person may feel sudden, high fever followed by severe headaches, pain behind the eyes and severe joint and muscle pain. A person may also feel fatigue, nausea and skin rash which would appear two to five days after the onset of fever.

Watch this online episode of Lifesaver for more information on how dengue affects your body.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of dengue typically last two to seven days. Most people infected by the virus will recover after about a week.

However, some people who get sick with dengue may develop severe dengue, a more serious form of disease that can result in shock, internal bleeding and even death.

Symptoms of severe dengue include stomach or belly pain, bleeding from the nose or gums, vomiting blood or blood in the stool. Warning signs generally begin in 24-48 hours after your fever has gone away.

If you or a family member develops any of the following symptoms, immediately go to the nearest hospital.

How to prevent dengue?

To protect yourself and your family from dengue, the DOH advises the public to follow the 4S strategy: Search and destroy, Self-protection measures, Seek early consultation and Support fogging/spraying.

The DOH said it is important to search and destroy the breeding sites of mosquitoes such as containers that can store water; employ self-protection measures by installing screen on windows and doors in homes and schools, wear long socks, clothes with long sleeves and daily use of mosquito repellent.

It is also vital to seek early consultation when a person is starting to experience the symptoms. The public is also urged to support fogging or spraying only in areas where increase in cases is registered for two consecutive weeks to prevent an impending outbreak.

Experts said dengue virus-carrying mosquitoes are usually active from 9 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.

Lifesaver is a UNTV Digital program that offers basic first aid training essential to anyone who happens to be a bystander to an accident or emergency. It also educates viewers of imperative emergency response lessons and indispensable disaster preparedness tools to be able to save lives in times of calamities.

For more information on dengue, other basic first aid and emergency response tips, visit Lifesaver’s Youtube and Facebook accounts.

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Duterte insists ‘major contributors’ to climate change be held accountable

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, June 24th, 2019

Cities and Pollution contribute to climate change. According to UN Habitat, cities consume 78 per cent of the world’s energy and produce more than 60 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. | Courtesy: Pexels

BANGKOK, Thailand – President Rodrigo Duterte has called on members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to hold accountable countries that greatly contribute to climate change.

Duterte raised the matter during the 34th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, Thailand on Sunday (June 23).

“The cost is horrendous, especially for us in Southeast Asia: Displacement, destruction and death. Real lives hang in the balance,” he said.

“We must hold countries most responsible for climate change to account, to answer,” he added.

Duterte emphasized that countries should come up with measures to alleviate the impact of natural disasters which, in time, have become more frequent and more intense.

He suggested building disaster-resilient infrastructures, innovative systems and sustainable cities.

“We must adapt and build our resilience by advancing initiatives that care for the people and the environment,” he noted.

In the World Risk Index Report 2018, the Philippines (index value of 25.14) ranked third among 172 countries with the highest disaster risk covered by the report, following Vanuatu (50.28) and Tonga (29.42).

These countries’ exposure to extreme natural events such as cyclones or earthquakes is very high and according to the report, they show very high level of societal vulnerability.

Other ASEAN countries included in the top 15 high-risk list were Brunei (18.82) at 8th spot and Cambodia at 12th place (16.07).

Meanwhile, the seven other ASEAN member nations were among the countries experience minimal risk in natural disasters with Vietnam at 25th spot (11.35); Indonesia at 36th (10.36); Myanmar at 64th place (7.49);

Malaysia at the 82nd spot (6.44); Thailand at 88th place (6.12); Laos at 106th spot (5.3); and Singapore at 158th pace (2.31) among countries in the World Risk Index 2018.

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