The impact of climate change on waterborne diseases in Pakistan

Noureen, Afshan and Aziz, Rabia and Ismail, Abdullah and Trzcinski, Antoine P. ORCID: (2022) The impact of climate change on waterborne diseases in Pakistan. Sustainability and Climate Change, 15 (2). pp. 138-152. ISSN 2692-2924


Climate change has become a potential threat to human health in the past half century. The risk associated with waterborne diseases due to changes in climatic patterns is increasing all over the world. This article reviews the available literature on the increase and potential impact of waterborne diseases on human health, particularly those resulting from changes in climate patterns in Pakistan. The discussion focuses on the increased exposure to pathogens associated mainly with temperature rise and floods resulting from intense rainfall events. Developing countries, including Pakistan, are more vulnerable to threats of climatic changes, which add to waterborne disease risks due to poor sanitation and sewerage systems, inappropriate water management, lack of health-care facilities, and social and environmental factors. Among bacterial pathogens, E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, Cryptosporidium, and Campylobacter are the main causative agents of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, hepatitis, cholera, typhoid, malaria, salmonellosis, dysentery, schistosomiasis, and giardiasis, all of which are becoming more frequent. In addition to disease outbreaks, climate changes are expected to increase the challenges of water availability and exposure to unsafe water. Future projections of climate based on current rates of change predict increased variations in rainfall patterns and melting glaciers, which will lead to an exponential increase in pathogen concentration in water bodies. As disease outbreaks become more frequent, the impact on health is clear. This article proposes actions to reduce future health threats from outbreaks of waterborne diseases through the development of mitigation and adaptation measures put into national water policy, including infrastructure development that assures potable water quality control, improved medical intervention, and the development of process-based models for risk management.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current – Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agriculture and Environmental Science (1 Jan 2022 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current – Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agriculture and Environmental Science (1 Jan 2022 -)
Date Deposited: 12 May 2022 03:19
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2022 04:33
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change, water borne diseases, temperature, rainfall, floods, health impact
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410103 Human impacts of climate change and human adaptation
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4105 Pollution and contamination > 410504 Surface water quality processes and contaminated sediment assessment
40 ENGINEERING > 4011 Environmental engineering > 401103 Global and planetary environmental engineering
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420699 Public health not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1803 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management > 180301 Assessment and management of freshwater ecosystems
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1905 Understanding climate change > 190507 Global effects of climate change (excl. Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and the South Pacific) (excl. social impacts)
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