In this article, we will discuss Australian Bushfire (Impact on Public Health and Ongoing Ecological and Biodiversity). So, let’s get started.
Impact on Public Health
Due to intense smoke and air pollution stemming from the fires, in January 2020 reports indicated that Canberra measured the worst air quality index of any major city in the world. Wildfires produce harmful smoke which can cause fatalities. Wildfires produce fine particle air pollution, which is directly threatens human health even during relatively short exposures. Close to the fires, smoke is a health risk because it contains a mixture of hazardous gases and particles that can irritate the eyes and the respiratory system. The effects of smoke exposure and inhalation range from eye and respiratory tract irritation to more serious disorders, including reduced lung function, bronchitis, exacerbated asthma and premature death. Exposure to particulate matter is the main public health threat from short-term exposure to wildfire smoke. According to the World Health Organization, older people, people with cardiorespiratory diseases or chronic illnesses, children, and people who work outdoors are particularly vulnerable.
Impact on Ongoing Ecological and Biodiversity
After initial devastation of the fires, impacts are ongoing. An estimated billion animals, and many more bats and insects, are likely to die in total over the coming weeks and months as a result of lost habitat and food sources. This loss is part of a much bigger picture of a world where biodiversity is in steep decline. We are losing wildlife at an ever-increasing scale across the planet, with impacts to ecosystems vital for our own global food production. The world’s terrestrial biodiversity is concentrated in forests: they are home to more than 80 per cent of all terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. So, when forests burn, the biodiversity on which humans depend for their long-term survival also disappears in the inferno. With over 1 million species currently facing extinction if we continue with business as usual, extreme weather events such “megafires” become an increasing matter of concern for species survival.