Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The price of industrialistion: Heavy pollution in Patancheru causes respiratory problems

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Residents of highly industrialized Patancheru area
of the city silently suffer from a variety of respiratory problems
including chronic pulmonary disease, tightness in the chest and
morning cough.

A team of researchers from Osmania University College for Women
selected Patancheru to study the problem of respiratory diseases among
the residents, as the locality is known for high levels of industrial
pollution. Patancheru had grabbed the attention of environment
scientists around the world for its notoriously high levels of
industrial pollutants. Both air and water quality in the area fails
the ambient environment quality tests.

As part of the study, the team comprising Anusha C Pawar, Jithender
Kumar Naik and Anitha Kumari conducted a cross sectional survey of
about 500 residents of Patancheru. They observed health issues related
to air pollution like morning cough and tightness in the chest. The
results were presented before an international gathering of eminent
scientists at the Indian Science Congress held at Bhubaneswar recently.

According to the city research team, indoor and outdoor air pollution
is one of the most serious environmental and public health problems in
industrial zones. The epidemiological evidences establish an
association between exposure to ambient air pollutants and various
health effects such as respiratory symptoms or impaired
cardio-pulmonary function and premature mortalities.

The team found that the air pollutant concentrations are relatively
high in densely populated congested locations and more prominent at
industrialised zones. An odds ratio of 1.68 was found in case of
chronic pulmonary diseases, 1.78 in case of tightness in the chest and
1.81 in case of morning cough, indicating that air pollution is the
cause of the problem. An odds ratio greater than 1 implies a more
likely link between the cause (pollution) and effect (disease or its

“The study indicates that the air pollution and respiratory problems
among the residents are high. From public health point of view, it is
important to control the possible risk on the health status of the
residents. By considering the fact that the residents are more
sensitive to the contaminating effects of the pollutants, regulatory
authorities should take up this aspect seriously,” they suggested.

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