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Rising pollution post-Diwali poses problems for Ludhiana residents

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Soaring cases of thatch burning and pollution from crackers popping during Diwali have compounded the problems of allergy sufferers, especially respiratory problems such as bronchitis and asthma, in Ludhiana.

According to doctors at civilian hospitals, the outpatient department (OPD) has seen a 30% increase in patients with respiratory problems, coughs and sneezes.

Dr. Amanpreet Kaur Brar, MD (Medicine) at Civil Hospital, said: “There has been a marked increase in the number of patients requiring hospitalization and suffering from serious respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Before Diwali, they were all living normal lives, but the sudden increase in stubble burning cases followed by Diwali pollution compounded their problems.

While citing a latest study published in a reputable medical journal, The Lancet, Dr. Brar said more than 330,000 people died in India due to exposure to particulates from burning fossil fuels in 2020.

“We need to raise awareness about pollution and its harmful effects on the elderly, women and children. We should prefer a green Diwali and avoid farm fires so that everyone can celebrate this festive season,” she added.

Similarly, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) pulmonologist Dr. Akashdeep and Dr. Neeru of Christian Medical College and Hospital also said that respiratory problems in the elderly and those with COPD and asthma had increased after Diwali. They said many patients who had been stable for the past few months have also started arriving at the hospital with breathing problems.

According to Dr. Puneet A Pooni, Professor and Head of Department of Pediatrics at DMCH, children with bronchitis or asthma may experience respiratory discomfort after Diwali. “If a child feels uncomfortable breathing, parents should seek medical attention immediately. Many children with similar complaints started presenting to the OPD in the hospital,” the doctor added. She advised residents to continue wearing masks when going out.

AQI continues to be ‘poor’

The city’s air quality index (AQI) remained in the “poor” category even three days after Diwali. The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences’ Air Quality and Weather Research and Prediction System said on Thursday: “The share of particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers (PM 2.5) was the highest at 252 points, while the number was 291 on Wednesday and 302 on Tuesday.

Ecologist Gagnish Khurana, however, said the current air quality results were the wrong markers of pollution because the observatory was set up deep within the campus of the Punjab Agricultural University. . “To get a clear projection, it should be installed at a prime location in the city. Certainly, the AQI level would show alarming levels if the observatory was installed at the ideal location,” Khurana added.

What do doctors advise

Stay hydrated

Avoid eating out and say no to fried foods

stay indoors

Maintain room temperature

Wear masks when going out

Avoid exposure to any type of smoke

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