Environmental Management

, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 779–789 | Cite as

Development, Malaria and Adaptation to Climate Change: A Case Study from India

  • Amit GargEmail author
  • R. C. Dhiman
  • Sumana Bhattacharya
  • P. R. Shukla


India has reasons to be concerned about climate change. Over 650 million people depend on climate-sensitive sectors, such as rain-fed agriculture and forestry, for livelihood and over 973 million people are exposed to vector borne malarial parasites. Projection of climatic factors indicates a wider exposure to malaria for the Indian population in the future. If precautionary measures are not taken and development processes are not managed properly some developmental activities, such as hydro-electric dams and irrigation canal systems, may also exacerbate breeding grounds for malaria. This article integrates climate change and developmental variables in articulating a framework for integrated impact assessment and adaptation responses, with malaria incidence in India as a case study. The climate change variables include temperature, rainfall, humidity, extreme events, and other secondary variables. Development variables are income levels, institutional mechanisms to implement preventive measures, infrastructure development that could promote malarial breeding grounds, and other policies. The case study indicates that sustainable development variables may sometimes reduce the adverse impacts on the system due to climate change alone, while it may sometimes also exacerbate these impacts if the development variables are not managed well and therefore they produce a negative impact on the system. The study concludes that well crafted and well managed developmental policies could result in enhanced resilience of communities and systems, and lower health impacts due to climate change.


Impact assessment Development Climate change Adaptation Malaria 



The authors have benefited from discussions with Dr. Subodh Sharma, Dr. Rupa Kumar, Dr. Krishna Kumar, and other experts involved in India’s National Communication preparation process. Our special thanks are due to Mr Vijai Sharma, Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests for inspiring us to work in the area of climate change impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation. Authors also acknowledge the comments and encouragement received from Dr. Ole Mertz, Dr. Kirsten Halsnaes, and other participants during the ReNED climate seminar in Copenhagen during 2004 where some idea on this work was presented. Above all, the motivation and guidance by the eminent Indian scientist Dr. A. P. Mitra (Fellow of Royal Society, London) is acknowledged, with whom the authors had the privilege of having many lively discussions on this topic. Dr. Mitra passed away on September 3, 2007 and this article is dedicated to his memory.


  1. Akhtar R, Dutt A, Wadhwa V (2002) Health planning and the resurgence of malaria in urban India. In: Akhtar R (ed) Urban health in the third world. AHP Publications, New Delhi, pp 65–92Google Scholar
  2. Abeku TA, Hay SI, Ochola S, Langi P, Beard B, deVlas SJ, Cox J (2004) Malaria epidemic early warning and detection in African highlands. Trends in Parasitology 20:400–405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bhattacharya S, Sharma C, Dhiman RC, Mitra AP (2006) Climate change and malaria in India. Current Science 90:3Google Scholar
  4. Bruce-Chwatt L (1980) Essential malariology. William Neinemann Medical Books Ltd, LondonGoogle Scholar
  5. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) (2006) Investigating the impacts of climate change in India. A joint study by Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, United Kingdom. Accessed on 14 Sept 2007
  6. Dhiman RC, Bhattacharya S, Adak T, Subbarao SK (2003) Impact of climate change on malaria in India with emphasis on selected sites. In NATCOM workshop proceedings on vulnerability assessment and adaptation due to climate change on Indian water resources, coastal zones and human health, pp 127–131Google Scholar
  7. Dua VK, Sharma SK, Srivastava A, Sharma VP (1997) Bioenvironmental control of industrial malaria at Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd., Hardwar, India—results of a nine-year study (1987–1995). Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 13(3):71–78Google Scholar
  8. Garg A, Shukla PR, Kapshe MM (2007) From climate change impacts to adaptation: a development perspective from India. Natural Resources Forum: A United Nations Sustainable Development Journal 31(2):132–141Google Scholar
  9. Halsnæs K, Garg A (2006) Sustainable development, energy and climate: exploring synergies and tradeoffs. A research publication of UNEP Risoe Centre, DenmarkGoogle Scholar
  10. Integrated Disease Vector Control Project (IDVC) (2007) A Profile, National Institute of Malaria Research, Delhi. Accessed on 20 July 2007
  11. India’s Initial National Communication (INC) (2004) India’s Initial National Communication (INC) to UNFCCC. Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  12. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2007) Chapter 8 in climate change 2007: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of working group II to the fourth assessment report of the IPCC. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  13. Kapshe M, Shukla PR, Garg A (2003) Climate change impacts on infrastructure and energy systems. In: Shukla PR, Sharma SK, Ravindranath NH, Garg A, Bhattacharya S (eds) Climate change and India: vulnerability assessment and adaptation. Universities Press (India) Pvt Ltd, HyderabadGoogle Scholar
  14. Kolli RK, Kumar K, Prasanna V, Kamala K, Deshpande NR, Patwardhan SK, Pant GB (2003) Future climate scenarios. In: Shukla PR, Sharma SK, Ravindranath NH, Garg A, Bhattacharya S (eds) Climate change and India: vulnerability assessment and adaptation. Universities Press (India) Pvt Ltd, HyderabadGoogle Scholar
  15. MacDonald G (1957) The epidemiology and control of malaria. Oxford University Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. Malaria Research Centre (MRC) (2002) A profile. Malaria Research centre, Delhi. Accessed on 20 July 2007
  17. Mitra AP, Bhattacharya S, Dhiman RC, Krishna Kumar K, Sharma C (2003) Malaria in India and its future projections due to climate change. In: Shukla PR, Sharma SK, Ravindranath NH, Garg A, Bhattacharya S (eds) Climate change and India: vulnerability assessment and adaptation. Universities Press (India) Pvt Ltd, HyderabadGoogle Scholar
  18. Kovats RS, Ebi KL (2006) Heatwaves and public health in Europe. The European Journal of Public Health 16:592–599. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckl049 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Keiser J, Utzinger J (2005) Effect of irrigation and large dams on the burden of malaria on a global and regional scale. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 72(4):392–406Google Scholar
  20. Government of India (1998) Epidemic preparedness and rapid response, Part I(1–35) and Part II(1–71). Project report—final. Directorate of National Malaria Eradication Programme, Government of India, DelhiGoogle Scholar
  21. Sethi NK, Choudhri Y, Chuttani CS (1990) Role of migratory population in keeping up endemicity of malaria in metropolitan cities of India. Journal of Communicable Diseases 22:86–91Google Scholar
  22. Shah I, Deshpande GC, Tardeja PN (2004) Outbreak of dengue in Mumbai and predictive markers for dengue shock syndrome. Journal of Tropical Pediatrics 50:301–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Singh N, Mahra RK, Sharma VP (1999) Malaria and the Narmada River development in India: a case study of the Bargi dam. Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology 93(5):477–488CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Singh N, Mishra AK (2000) Anopheline ecology and malaria transmission at a newly irrigation project area in Jabalpur. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 16(4):279–287Google Scholar
  25. Sharma VP, Srivastava A, Nagpal BN (1994) A study of the relationship of rice cultivation and annual parasite incidence of malaria in India. Social Science and Medicine 38:165–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sharma VP (1996) Ecological changes and vector-borne diseases. Tropical Ecology 37(1):57–65Google Scholar
  27. Sharma VP (2003) Malaria and poverty in India. Current Science 84(4):513–515Google Scholar
  28. Shukla PR, Rana A, Garg A, Kapshe M, Nair R (2006) Global climate change stabilization regimes and Indian emission scenarios: lessons for modelling of developing country transitions. Environmental Economics and Policy Studies 7(3):205–231Google Scholar
  29. Shukla PR, Sharma SK, Ravindranath NH, Garg A, Bhattacharya S (eds) 2003 Climate Change and India: vulnerability assessment and adaptation. Universities Press (India) Pvt Ltd, Hyderabad, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  30. Thomson MC, Mason SJ, Phindela T, Connor SJ (2005) Use of rainfall and sea surface temperature monitoring for malaria early warning in Botswana. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 73:214–221Google Scholar
  31. Tyagi BK, Chaudhary RC (1997) Outbreak of falciparum malaria in the Thar desert (India), with particular emphasis on physiographic changes brought about by extensive canalization and their impact on vector density and dissemination. Journal of Arid Environments 36(3):541–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Tyagi BK, Yadav SP, Sachdev R, Dam PK (2001) Malaria outbreak in the Indira Gandhi nahar Pariyojna command area in Jaisalmer district. Thar desert, India. The Journal of communicable diseases 33(2):88–95Google Scholar
  33. World Health Organization (WHO) (2007) Malaria control/rollback malaria: current status and trends of malaria. ( Accessed on 25 Oct 2007; Accessed on 25 Oct 2007
  34. Woodruff RE (2005) Epidemic early warning systems: Ross River virus disease in Australia. In: Ebi K, Smith J, Burton I (eds) Integration of public health with adaptation to climate change: lessons learned and new directions. Taylor and Francis, Leiden, pp 91–113Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amit Garg
    • 1
    Email author
  • R. C. Dhiman
    • 2
  • Sumana Bhattacharya
    • 3
  • P. R. Shukla
    • 1
  1. 1.Indian Institute of Management AhmedabadVastrapur, AhmedabadIndia
  2. 2.National Institute of Malaria Research (ICMR)New DelhiIndia
  3. 3.NATCOM PMCNew DelhiIndia

Personalised recommendations