Physicians in Australia and New Zealand have urged authorities to take action to deal with a public health emergency, which they say is unfolding as a result of climate change.
Last month, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) declared climate change as a national public health emergency amid a high number of emergency level bushfires burning in Australia. According to the RACP, bushfire smoke has caused air pollution to soar to more than 10 times the level which is known to be hazardous to health in New South Wales. Fresh concerns are being voiced ahead of a predicted heat wave expected to impact many parts of South-Eastern Australia this week.
“Climate change is already having a serious impact on public health – and it’s time that our Government implemented a national health strategy to manage the impacts of climate change on public health,” said Dr Kate Charlesworth.
“Forecasts for the next week across South East Australia indicate extreme heat of 45+ degrees Celsius will impact many areas over a number of days, potentially including major population centres.”
The RACP has recommended a range of actions to address the issue including developing a national climate change and health strategy.