Climate change is shortening the breathing of the coastal people of Bangladesh


Muhammad Abdur Rahaman

“ The shortened respiratory rate could change the breathing conditions because of anxiety, congestive heart failure, lung disease, use of narcotics, or drug overdose “.

The effects of climate change on health are diverse. Weather patterns and other climate change components can impact human health (IPCC, 2014). There are three main ways that climate change affects health: immediate or direct effects, indirect or second-order effects, and tertiary or long-term effects, respectively (Singh et al., 2016). The most notable impacts are those that have a direct human influence, such as heat and cold stress and trauma brought on by exposure to extreme weather occurrences (McIver et al., 2016). Climate change is responsible for sea level rise and salinity intrusion along the global coastline. The causal relationships between salinity and human health are complicated since they are frequently circumstantial, context-dependent, and reliant on particular climatic events. The availability of ecosystem commodities and services (such as freshwater, food, biodiversity, etc.) necessary for optimal human health and productivity affects people’s health (Horwitz & Finlayson, 2011). If ecosystem services cannot continue to meet the community’s demands, significant adverse effects on human health may result. Changes in ecosystem services impact income, food security, employment, and livelihoods, occasionally leading to social unrest. Wide-ranging consequences on well-being and health and the availability of ecosystem services emerge from the effects on economic and physical security, freedom, choice, and social ties.

Along the coastal belt of Bangladesh, climate change has increased water and soil salinity. Satkhira, one of the coastal districts, is a highly climate-vulnerable district in Bangladesh due to salinity intrusion, cyclones, storm surges, etc. In Satkhira, climate change increased soil and water salinity. As a result, water quality and water safety are primary concerns. Not only so, but also land degradation, loss of biodiversity, and freshwater declining scenario are evident in the district. These are responsible for agricultural production loss, increasing food insecurity, malnutrition, and water crisis for drinking and other purposes. These complex issues raise the health burden for this district’s people. Along with different physical, reproductive, and mental health disturbances, salinity also threatens people’s breathing.

A person’s respiratory rate is the number of breaths taken per minute. The average respiration rate for a healthy adult is 12 to 20 breaths per minute (Fleming S ed et al., 2011). But the Center for People and Environ (CPE) conducted a study in Shyamnagar, Assasuni, Kaliganj, and Satkhira Sadar of Satkhira district and finds that short breathing among adult people.. In the study, an average adult breathes 25-30 breaths per minute. In this connection, the Civil Surgeon of Satkhira district said increasing respiratory could change breathing conditions because of anxiety, congestive heart failure, lung disease, use of narcotics, or drug overdose. Drinking acidic water can also cause shortness of breath (Niyogi ed et al., 1999). In the study area, all of the drinking water sources possess lower pH as well as acidic, which was found in the study.

Chest tightness, forced breathing, hard to get a deep breath, and noisy breathing are common scenarios in the salinity-affected area.

Bimal Das, an inhabitant of Gabura Union of Sahyamnagar, Satkhira who is 36 years old mentioned that for the last couple of years, he cannot breathe properly. During breathing, he feels chest tightness. He also said that during breathing he feels forced into breathing. Not only Bimal but also his wife Krishna feels hard to get a deep breath.


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