Geneva: Sharply rising temperatures across the globe continue to endanger the safety of workers and impact communities with the “least capacity for adaptation,” according to a senior economist at the International Labour Organization (ILO). Data from the UN’s World Meteorological Organization reveals this July is set to be the hottest month ever recorded.
Heatwaves not only threaten the environment but create additional obstacles for countries attempting to achieve sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all, the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 8, according to the ILO’s Nicolas Maître. Mr. Nicolas Maître said,
The estimates show that work productivity slows down at temperatures above 24-26 degrees Celsius (75-79 Fahrenheit). At 33-34°C (91-93°F), worker performance can drop up to 50 per cent in physically demanding jobs. It can occur in shade, and even inside some factories. If the factory has no air conditioning and employees are expected to operate heavy machinery or wear protective clothing, then it can occur in these contexts, too. Broadly speaking, agriculture and construction are the most affected sectors. The ILO estimates that globally, productivity declines due to the impacts of climate change, with agriculture accounting for 60 per cent of this loss. But heat stress can occur in all physically demanding jobs that require employees to work directly under the sun, for long hours, or while wearing protective clothing.
Increasing the number of breaks, improving access to water, adapting working hours, and rotating workers are all effective heat-reducing measures. Adapting the clothing of workers, drinking regularly, and having routine self-health checks are also beneficial.
Mr. Maître added evidence suggests that it’s becoming a real problem for temperate countries, but the problem is not the same. In Southeast Asia, for example, the problem is present year-round. In Europe, it’s a problem that primarily occurs during summer heat waves. I believe adaptation measures should consider these differences. While we implement sustainable adaptation measures in hot countries, we might think of measures triggered by a specific temperature in temperate countries.
The role of the government in establishing these measures is very important. This relates to triggering situational adaption measures, but governments can also create a regulatory framework within the countries to tackle the issue of heat stress. It might be expensive, but the loss of productivity is also expensive.
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NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.