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Pollution posing health hazards, finds recent study

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, June 21 - Environment pollution has become a major cause of worry in the cities and towns of Assam and a recent study revealed that a large number of people are suffering from various diseases including skin infection, lung problems and even cancer due to high pollution level. There is urgent need for reducing the pollution level and to preserve the green cover and water bodies to deal with the problem.

Doctors of the State Health Department recently conducted a study in collaboration with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on the impact of environment pollution on the people and the observations made during the study revealed the dangers posed by high level of pollution.

Senior dermatologist Dr BR Baishya, who is also the State coordinator of the Cancer Prevention and Control Programme, which is run in collaboration with the AIIMS, told The Assam Tribune that during the study, it was found that air pollution in the cities and towns has become a major cause of concern.

Giving details of the observations, he said that dark spots on the skin, particularly in the exposed areas like face, forearms, back of the hands, etc., became a common problem, particularly among the people above 50 years of age due to carbon dioxide pollution in the cities and towns.

Dr Baishya revealed that one of the major problems faced by the people due to air pollution is lung congestion and breathing difficulty, which increases the ageing process. As the oxygen level in the air comes down due to pollution, people face respiratory problems leading to premature ageing. Lead poisoning is also causing serious neuro-physiological disorders that also slows down the learning ability of the children.

Carbon monoxide pollution in the air is also lowering the oxygen supply to the body and there have been instances where it was found that even the haemoglobin level in the bodies of some of the people has come down. It is also seriously affecting pregnant women, leading to premature births and it is one of the reasons for the high maternal and infant mortality rate in the State. This also affects the central nervous system.

It has also been revealed that benzene poisoning in Guwahati and other towns is causing cancer. The government should also ensure that the natural water bodies are protected, he said, adding that the authorities concerned can also think of the feasibility of creating special �oxygen zones� in the cities and towns.

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