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Pigeon feeding raises health concerns amidst bird flu cases

In the wake of isolated cases of bird flu, serious questions are being raised over Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) inability to take action against those feeding pigeons
By Nadeem Inamdar
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 10:50 PM IST

In the wake of isolated cases of bird flu, serious questions are being raised over Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) inability to take action against those feeding pigeons. Citizen groups maintain that feeding the birds is an offence and fines must be recovered. They said that pigeon dropping could pose bird flu risk.

A person cannot feed birds from a flat’s balcony creating nuisance due to droppings and filth for other occupants in a residential society, the Supreme Court had directed in 2019 and refused to interfere with an order restraining a woman from feeding birds from her balcony flat in a high rise building in Mumbai.

According to medical practitioner Dr Suhas Divte, pigeon dropping is a serious threat to public health. Currently, citizens especially grain merchants are feeding pigeons which sometimes behave like a predator. “Pigeon feeding must be banned, and culprits punished,” he said.

The dried and disintegrated bird dropping disperse over a wide area due to wind causing allergic and other hygiene problems, said social worker Danish Khan of Mohammadwadi.

Dr Prakash Wagh, assistant medical officer (veterinary), PMC said, “When bird flu cases were reported, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) had sent samples of pigeons to the state government’s animal husbandry department centre in Aundh. All tests were negative. We have been getting complaints from residents on pigeon nuisance.”

The official said that the civic administration has put a ban on feeding pigeons at Rasth peth chowk to check the bird menace.

“Staff are posted at certain places to stop public from feeding pigeons, though as per the Solid Waste Management rule, there is provision to impose fine for feeding pigeon,” he said.

Meanwhile, PMC health chief Dr Ashish Bharti said that the solid waste management department handles the complaints related to pigeon menace.

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