Anando Sangbad Live: Several doctors from across Bengal came together today to discuss in depth about the issue of rising air pollution in West Bengal . Doctors calling it an health emergency urged the government and citizens to take urgent action. Being a matter of grave concern, the doctors shared their personal opinions on the issue, health advisories for the citizens and appealed to the government to urgently take action in order to avoid another impending health crisis after COVID-19.
Bengal Clean Air Network (Bengal CAN), a collaboration of several stakeholders concerned about the quality of air in the State, had conducted a survey of multiple doctors from the non-attainment cities in Bengal to study their perception on air pollution related health crisis in the State. The study revealed that 95% of doctors from Bengal and all 100% of the 21 doctors from Kolkata perceived air pollution as a state health emergency.
The survey revealed that the top 4 air pollution related health problems in the State, as has been found from the study are asthma (85%), skin irritations or allergies (65%) followed by cardiovascular diseases (45%) and prenatal and postnatal complications in newborn children(45%). Doctors said that Most vulnerable people are people with co-morbidity and poor immune conditions. The study revealed that about 100% of elderly people above the age group of 56 years are highly vulnerable to exposure to a polluted air, followed by new born children and young children below 10 years of age who are 60% and 50% highly vulnerable to air pollution respectively.
The constructive discussions held at the online doctors’ panel further revealed that air pollution is going to critically affect us in the coming few years as several people’ health has already been compromised by COVID-19 outbreak. Therefore, there is an urgent need to take all the necessary precautions to stay protected and enhance our health-care systems. Some of the useful advisories included wearing a N-95 mask at all times while stepping out, avoiding outdoor activity on days with very poor to severe air quality and keeping indoor air purifiers and air purifying plants at home to control indoor air pollution. The doctors’ have also jointly appealed to the government to bring health advisories and precautionary measures to be taken at individual levels – through outdoor , print and social media attention, to regularly communicate the situation of air quality to the general public. A request has also been made to set up a doctors’ panel to report and work with the government on the same.
Appeal to the Government:
“We are concerned about the degrading air quality exposing millions of people to drastic health risks, we appeal to you in taking urgent precautionary measures as it is turning into an Health Emergency Situation.
We appeal to you to bring health advisories and precautionary measures to be taken at individual levels – through outdoor , print and social media attention, to regularly communicate the situation of air quality to the general public and help them stay protected. We request you to setup a doctors panel to report and work with the government on the above. We are happy to offer our services at any point and collaborate with you for the same in making the state more habitable and provide safe breathing space for all.”
Avoid Outdoor activity when air is poor / very poor / severe
Wear N95 masks when stepping out on streets
Keep Indoor Air purifying Plants at home – Mother in law tongue, Areca Palm, Money plant etc.
Winter nights are particularly bad – Build/Keep an air purifier at home.
Remove dust or vacuum regularly in the house, especially before going to bed.
Doctors quotes :
1.Dr. Soirindhri Banerjee
Resident, Radiation Oncology
IPGME&R & SSKM Hospital, Kolkata
“The year 2020 is all the more tricky since most of our respiratory systems are already compromised by a deadly virus and toxic pollutants we inhale can only irritate our airway further”
- Dr Sanjukta Dutta
Consultant and head, Emergency Medicine, Fortis hospital, Kolkata
“Air pollution is taking away years from our life spans, killing silently. Please don’t sit idle thinking, “I can’t do anything for this. Please be aware of the deadly air which you are inhaling and understand your responsibilities towards the problem”
- Dr Kaustav Choudhury
Pediatric Consultant Apollo Gleneagles Hospital.
“Human body is made up of 70% water and breathing pure air is essential for proper metabolism. The COVID – 19 pandemic has already taught us a lesson. If we don’t realize the emergency posed by air pollution in the State now our future generations will perish.”
- Dr Suman Mallick
Clinical Director, Chief of Radiation Oncology, Narayana Superspeciality Hospital.
“Rising air pollution slowly poisoning our body environment and becoming one of the commonest health hazards causing premature deaths especially for vulnerable populations.”
5.Dr Chandrakanth MV
Consultant Medical Oncology, Narayana Superspeciality Hospitals.
“Kolkata’s air quality was not as bad just a decade back but with the rising number of vehicles and industries the air quality gradually deteriorated with a high risk of air pollution… Every individual should also take the initiative to not adhere to smoking, use public transport, use indoor air purifying plants at home, and reduce electricity consumption.”
- Dr Arup Halder
Consultant Pulmonologist, Columbia Asia & Woodlands Hospitals.
“According to Global Burden of Disease data India ranks first globally in Asthma deaths and second in COPD deaths. The main reasons for these ‘Lung attacks’ are viral infections and air pollution.”