Impacts of Climate Change on Public Health on Bonaire
Part of the larger The impacts of climate change on Bonaire (2022-present) report available here.
Climate change is the biggest “global health threat facing humanity” in the 21st century. Climate change will very likely affect public health on Caribbean small islands, as small island developing states are highly vulnerable to the climate change impacts on health. Currently, small island developing states already “carry heavy burdens” in the form of non-communicable diseases, malnutrition, and obesity. The Caribbean region is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and this project investigates the impacts of climate change on Bonaire’s public health situation.
The effects of climate change on various aspects of Bonairians’ health conditions are determined by focussing on the impacts on vector-borne diseases, non-communicable diseases, and mental health, among others. In order to explore the current health situation on Bonaire and the possible impacts on public health associated with climate change, desk research is combined with expert interviews.
Although climate change induced floods can result in increased injury and accidental mortality (WHO, 2021), such physical trauma only makes up a minor part of the health climate change impacts. In reality, many more impacts can be seen in terms of vectorborne diseases, non-communicable diseases, mental health, and other health problems. The results indicate that Bonaire’s public health is vulnerable to climate change affecting vector-borne diseases, malnutrition and food insecurity, noncommunicable diseases, heat-related stress and mortality, and mental health issues, among others. Decision-makers should take their responsibility to support Bonaire’s adaptation to the expected impacts accordingly.