Climate Change Linked to Waterborne Diseases in Inuit Communities

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This story is part of a special National Geographic News series on global water issues.

global warming triggers heavier rainfall and faster snowmelt in the
Arctic, Inuit communities in Canada are reporting more cases of illness
attributed to pathogens that have washed into surface water and
groundwater, according to a new study.

findings corroborate past research that suggests indigenous people
worldwide are being disproportionately affected by climate change. This
is because many of them live in regions where the effects are felt first
and most strongly, and they might come into closer contact with the
natural environment on a daily basis. For example, some indigenous
communities lack access to treated water because they are far from urban
areas. (See a map of the region.)

the north, a lot of [Inuit] communities prefer to drink brook water
instead of treated tap water. It’s just a preference,” explained study
lead author Sherilee Harper, a Vanier Canada graduate
scholar in epidemiology at the University of Guelph in Ontario,
Canada. “Also, when they’re out on the land and hunting or fishing,
they don’t have access to tap water, so they drink brook water.”

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