Immense dust pollution and smoking habit has made Ganjam district most Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD) prone area in Odisha.

This was expressed by experts during observation of World COPD day in the city on Wednesday. “Greatest problem is that more than 25 per cent of the COPD patients fail to recognise their disease due to ignorance which aggravates the problem,” said associate professor of medicine department of MKCG medical college, Uma Shankar Mishra.

Dr. Mishra is involved in scientific study of COPD incidence in Ganjam district. According to him around six to seven per cent of the population in Odisha suffered from COPD. In Ganjam district and Berhampur this incidence may be slightly higher.

COPD is a disease related to lungs. Due to it a person feels difficulty in breathing. Its symptoms range from chronic bronchitis, which involves a long-term cough with mucus to Emphysema, or destruction of the lungs over time. Although Ganjam district and Berhampur do not have proximity to any industrial or mining area yet COPD rate is high here.

Dr. Mishra attributes it to extreme dust pollution and smoking habit among inhabitants. “COPD rate is lower among women who are very less addicted to smoking”, he added.

Dr. Mishra urged the municipal corporation of Berhampur to take immediate efforts to reduce dust pollution in the city. All roads should be cleaned along with sprinkling water for the purpose every day, he said. During his reaserach Dr. Mishra has also come across an interesting finding. Although the marine fishing community of Ganjam coast including women were heavy smokers, they were less prone to COPD in comparison to other smokers.

It was found that ample intake of marine fish products that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acid saves them from COPD.