Air pollution has been the recent major concern in Delhi. As the WHO has already declared the city as the most polluted one in the world, the number of people suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) tends to increase across the city and its surrounding areas.
A recent survey in the Gurgaon region has revealed that the high levels of air pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR) has affected the lungs of senior government officials. A private hospital in Gurgaon conducted lung tests on 100 officials and the results were released on the world COPD day.
‘World Health Organization data shows that 65 million people have moderate to severe COPD and there are 30 million COPD patients in India.
The results showed that about 68% officials suffered from shortness of breath to varying degrees, 57% had below normal lung capacity and 48% had lung function suggestive of obstructive airway diseases such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which results in shortness of breath and breathing troubles.
"The survey results are certainly shocking. We hope that the survey shall serve as an eye-opener for the people as well as healthcare stakeholders who will help point out the extent of the problem and importance of raising awareness on the same," said Dr Himanshu Garg, head of department, respiratory critical care, Artemis Hospital, who was part of the group that conducted the survey.
Outdoor and indoor air pollution, pollution due to second hand smoking, burning of waste and coal were all the important factors that contributed to the rise in COPD cases in the region.
"The survey raises serious questions on outdoor as well as indoor air quality of Gurgaon. Despite this, very little attention has been paid to the respiratory diseases by the authorities and the medical community," said Dr Pratibha Dogra, consultant pulmonologist at Artemis Hospital.
The senior officials whose lungs were tested include the deputy commissioner, additional deputy commissioner, all sub-divisional magistrates and officials from the Haryana Urban Development Authority, public health, electricity, revenue and several other departments.
According to Gurgaon deputy commissioner TL Satyaprakash, "When cities grow as part of old cities such as Delhi, the problems remain the same throughout. However, we realize that there is a need to increase attention on healthcare. The Indian government has been promoting yoga and that seems to be one of the best solutions. As a city and nation, we should work towards such solutions."