Dust displaced in the air is becoming an increasing cause of breathing related problems among children and old-age persons as is evident from the rise in patients reporting at government and private hospitals with such symptoms. Doctors at Jallianwala Bagh Martyrs Memorial Civil Hospital and Guru Nanak Dev Hospital said in medical terminology the problem was called ‘environmental allergy’. They said delay in rain was the main cause behind increased health problems as it could have washed away dust particle displaced in the air. Even the ongoing work on bus rapid transport system (BRTS) is leading to air pollution as lot of dust is displaced while digging. A chest specialist and district TB officer, Dr Naresh Chawala, said, “The problem of chest congestion increases every winter season, but rise in the environment pollution has aggravated the problem this season.” He said the number of patients at OPDs had increased substantially. Child specialist at Civil Hospital, Dr Sandeep Aggarwal, said, “The problem has been seen not only in children, but in the elderly also. The best way to avoid the condition is to keep nose and mouth covered. Taking little children out on roads should be avoided.” He said children should be stopped from eating junk food, mainly potato chips, as it increased the chances of chest infections. Meanwhile, the dust-laden roads and air are aggravating diseases, besides also creating a problem for the nearby houses. “The problem is such that we are afraid to open our windows because of the dust,” said Ravneet Kaur, a resident of Batala Road.

Source: December 10, 2015, The Tribune