Sunday, February 5, 2023

Doctors issues Health Advisory on the eve of National Pollution Control Day

Bhubaneswar: A health advisory was issued at a press conference organized by the SwitchON Foundation at the Bhubaneswar Press Club earlier today. The health advisory provides numerous ways in which citizens can prevent impact from air pollution, beside preventive measures and practices that should be adopted in everyday life by citizens to better prepare from the onslaught of polluted winter days.
Doctors attending the press conference called upon all stakeholders to understand the magnitude of this problem. It’s killing millions of people, it’s causing disease, disability, and it’s causing huge economic loss to the country.
The pace of industrialization in the last decades in this area has led to population surges, urbanization, and other related developments, bringing environmental impacts closer to the limits of the tolerance threshold. Severely polluted industrial areas/clusters are not only environmental challenges but also public health challenges. The action plan prepared by CPCB includes components like identification of sources and its apportionment considering sectors like vehicular pollution, industrial pollution, dust pollution, construction activities, garbage burning, agricultural pollution, and residential and indoor pollution. The cities of Odisha are experiencing a progressive degradation of air quality due to the above-stated sources, coupled with poor environmental performance, and ineffective environmental regulations.
Attending the Press Conference, Dr. Damodar Bindhani Head, Pulmonary Medicines, CARE Hospital: “Indoor air pollution an unrecognized health hazard equally important as outdoor air pollution suffering mostly children with severe Asthmatic symptoms and Geriatric group with COPD with great numbers.”
The event held today coincides with the National Pollution Control Day, which is observed on December 2 every year in memory of those who suffered and lost their lives in the horrific 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy. This year marks the 38th anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.
It is observed as a reminder to all of the extent of damage environmental degradation like air pollution can have on human life. The chronic exposure to air pollution has large similarity with the fateful incident occurred due to the accidental discharge of the toxic chemical gas methyl isocyanate and other toxic gases from the Union Carbide chemical plant in Bhopal on the night of December 2, 1984.
Dr Mamata Panda Pediatrician, CARE Hospital, said “Clean air is essential for good health in children. Children should be aware of the importance of planting trees from an early age.”
Dr. Arpita Shubadarshinee, Medical In charge, UPHC: “Air quality index of Bhubaneswar is definitely an area of concern. The value of AQI of Bbsr is around 153 that falls under unhealthy category with particulate matter conc of 2.5 that is currently 12 times the air quality guideline value. The growing population, urbanization, Construction work, migration has been the concerning factors that affect health of the individuals It leads to many respiratory, cardiac diseases, malignancies etc and is very detrimental for health of all starting from pediatric to geriatric”
PM2.5 concentration on an average in Bhubaneswar’s air is currently 2.8 times above the WHO. While the AQI-US level in Bhubaneswar is currently 116. Based on PM2.5 concentration for the past couple of years, the region is expected to witness – high levels of pollution in the coming months.
Vinay Jaju, Founder SwitchON Foundation later concluded the event: “Health professionals are calling the air pollution and health emergency, these advisory coming from Doctors must be taken up seriously. He further added stating – “Vehicular emissions are the largest emitters and the city needs to prioritize Cycles, Walking and Public Transport on an urgent basis.”

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