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Steady rise in breathing disorders worry residents

Busier roads and a boom in construction activities are intrinsic to a growing city like Gurgaon.

gurgaon Updated: Jan 10, 2013 01:17 IST
Himabindu Reddy

Busier roads and a boom in construction activities are intrinsic to a growing city like Gurgaon.

However, the development work has resulted in a slow but steady rise in respiratory disorders among residents, city doctors say.

"Three out of every 25 patients that I attend to every day complain of acute respiratory problems. The reason behind it is the high amount of suspended dust in Gurgaon that is generated by rampant construction activities and vehicular pollution," said Dr Ashutosh Shukla, director of the department of internal medicine at Artemis Health Sciences.

Doctors say there have been many cases where patients have complained of more trouble after shifting to the Millennium City. One such patient is 54-year-old Maya Sardana who resides in DLF City Phase 1.

"Two years ago, I shifted to Gurgaon from Ghaziabad. I was already suffering from bronchitis, but here it turned into chronic asthma. I had never used an inhaler before coming to this city," said Sardana who is now forced to use an inhaler twice a day.

"My doctor has strictly told me not to venture out in polluted areas - near construction sites and busy roads," she added.

Though infrastructure-related activities are indispensable in a booming city, the side effects of construction activities, paints, solvents and automobile exhaust is a cause of worry.

On being exposed to a highly polluted environment, those suffering from minor respiratory ailments often complain of chronic asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - the most common form of lung disease that causes difficulty in breathing.

"In the last one decade, I have noticed a gradual increase in these cases. Usually, the youth suffer from bronchial asthma and the elderly and heavy smokers complain of COPD and chronic asthma," added Shukla.

To keep tabs on the rising level of air pollution in the city, experts say, the government must come forward to put a system in place.

"The government should ensure that construction spots are isolated or covered with tall tin sheets. Industrial areas also need a thick green buffer to lock pollutants," said Dr NPS Verma, a senior ear-nose-throat consultant in Gurgaon with 35 years of experience.