By Salem Solomon
WASHINGTON — Ethiopia’s highlands traditionally have a built-in protection for the people who live there. The elevation and the cool temperatures have meant that malaria, the deadly mosquito-borne illness, cannot be transmitted.
But climate change may be putting an end to that safeguard. A new study led by a researcher at the University of Maine found that since 1981, the elevation needed to protect people from malaria has risen by 100 meters.
Climate change is often associated with extreme weather events, melting glaciers and rising sea levels. But it could also have a major impact on human, animal and plant health by making it easier for diseases to spread.
Various germs and parasites may find the coming years a time to live longer and prosper. Rising temperatures are changing environments and removing some of their natural impediments.
ABUJA, NIGERIA — Most Nigerian homes do not have running water, or at least not water that is clean enough to drink. As a result, people drink water from small plastic bags sold on the streets. Environmental specialists say the bags are now clogging drainpipes, degrading sanitation and causing diseases.
Since the 1990s a familiar scene has regularly played out in Nigerian markets and busy intersections. The boy looks about six years old. Balanced on his head is a bucket of clear plastic bags, each containing about a half liter of water. The product is known as “pure water.”
Researchers say indigenous people are among the most vulnerable to climate change. They’re studying how extreme weather events can trigger more disease outbreaks.
Scientists say extreme weather events have accompanied a rise in global temperatures. Droughts, heavy rains and floods have put indigenous people around the world at risk.