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Impacts of Increasing Heat in Summer

Rising global temperatures are impacting the work force and occupational health of people, causing loss of 75 billion hours of work every year in India, states a recent Lancet report.

The report, ‘Countdown on health and climate change’, shows that India lost 75 billion hours of work due to extreme heat in 2017, which roughly equals to 7% of its working population. Over 80% of these losses were in the agriculture sector, which is the most affected.“Rising temperatures are a key risk for occupational health, with temperatures regularly breaching physiological limits, making sustained work increasingly difficult or impossible,” highlights the report, which examined three work sectors — service, industry and outdoor.

While vulnerability to extremes of heat has steadily risen since 1990, India was identified as most affected by these changes, along with South-east Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and South America. In 2015, the hottest year on record, India lost as many as 2,000 lives due to heat waves. This number declined to 1,110 in 2016 and 222 in 2017, even as the frequency of heat waves continued to increase.

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