Chennai

Chennai’s air quality pretty bad, says respiratory physician

The city’s air quality, according to R. Narasimhan, chairman, Respiratory Research Foundation, Chennai, is “pretty bad”, and cases of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) — air pollution being one of the causes — is on the rise in Chennai.  

The city’s air quality, according to R. Narasimhan, chairman, Respiratory Research Foundation, Chennai, is “pretty bad”, and cases of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) — air pollution being one of the causes — is on the rise in Chennai. COPD is a progressive disease and is irreversible, he noted.

“Take certain junctions such as near Kilpauk on Poonamallee High Road, Anna Salai, Tambaram and Perungalathur. We breathe in petrol fumes during traffic snarls. The air quality is poor. People should use public transportation. At the same time, public transportation facilities should also improve. Motorists should turn off the vehicle engines while waiting at traffic signals instead of idling. People can opt for car pooling. These are some of the ways to reduce air pollution,” he told reporters on Tuesday. When dependence on petrol and diesel reduces, the incidence of COPD would start declining, he said.

 

Monday’s smog in the city was not common unlike during Bhogi or Deepavali, he observed. “Chennai usually does not have such smog conditions as we do not experience such drops in temperature. This year, we did not have that much of smog conditions even during Bhogi and Deepavali. This is important as concentrated particles factor also contributes to COPD,” he noted.

Citing studies, he said India has the most cases of COPD in the world and ranks second when it comes to deaths caused by COPD. “COPD causes more deaths than AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and diabetes all put together,” he said.

Tamil Nadu has 4,000 cases of COPD per one lakh population, and occupies the 17th rank in terms of prevalence in the country.

So what are the risk factors?

Dr. Narasimhan, who is a senior respiratory physician, Apollo Hospitals, said use of coal, smoking, traffic snarls, occupational hazards, and use of mosquito coils, camphors and so on, were among the risk factors. The symptoms include feeling more breathless than usual, increase in frequency or severity in cough/ wheezing and feeling more tired than usual.

“It is time that India needs a national COPD prevention and control programme. Through this, we could create awareness among all stakeholders, prevent COPD by reducing exposure to risk factors, screen COPD in community using simple tools and, diagnose COPD early and correctly using spirometry,” he emphasised.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 11:58:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chennais-air-quality-pretty-bad-says-respiratory-physician/article29889578.ece

Next Story