Pulmonary disease risk soars as air quality worsens, say experts

Urges govt to impose lockdowns in cities hit by smog

Our Correspondent November 25, 2023


Issuing a stark warning on Friday, health experts in Pakistan highlighted the escalating air pollution evident from the worsening Air Quality Index of major cities in Sindh and Punjab.

This surge in particulate matter in the air poses an increased risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) which can cause airflow blockage as well as respiratory issues.

These cities are now categorised among the most polluted globally, forcing authorities to enforce lockdowns. The caution was raised during an awareness seminar organised by the Ojha Institute of Chest Diseases (OICD) Dow International Medical College on World COPD Day.

Professor Iftikhar Ahmed emphasised the dangers posed by smog and airborne particles, attributing them to factors such as vehicular emissions, waste burning, and industrial pollution.

Drawing parallels to the challenges posed by environmental pollution akin to the current COVID-19 situation, he stressed the dire need for more information on this matter which would help prevent the aforementioned issues. 

Read Smart lockdown proves fruitless

During the seminar, Professor Faisal Fayaz Zubairi highlighted the dual causes of COPD: the smoke of cigarettes and air pollution. He advocated minimising ecological pollution by regulating fuel-powered vehicles and promoting the electric vehicle industry.

Other experts revealed that approximately 4.5 million adults in the country suffer from COPD. They revealed that smoking and exposure to smoke from woods and animal dung are primary causes.

The experts underlined the importance of timely diagnosis, treatment as well as other preventive measures like wearing masks in highly polluted areas.

Urging collective efforts to address the growing rates of COPD which are exacerbated by winter conditions and environmental factors, the professionals dwelled on the need for public awareness and government interventions.


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