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Stubble burning hits health adversely, confirms study

September 29, 2018 05:25 AM

COURTESY TOI SEPT 29

Stubble burning hits health adversely, confirms study
Findings Based On People In Bathinda, Adjoining Districts
Vibhor.Mohan@timesgroup.com

Chandigarh:

Stubble burning in Punjab not only worsens condition of those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), but adversely affects healthy people coming in close contact with smog that envelops the region around November.


A new study on the impact of pollution caused by stubble burning on health and pulmonary functions, conducted in Bathinda and its adjoining districts of the Malwa region before and after the last paddy harvest, revealed that symptoms of ailments were more pronounced among those with COPD as compared to healthy population even though both the groups reported significant increase in symptoms during the post-harvest scenario.

Dr Vitull K Gupta, Bathinda-based professor of medicine, who conducted the study, told TOI that the effects of stubble burning on the health of normal and COPD population mostly revolved around irritation in eyes and nose. A majority of locals also reported being more prone to wheezing after stubble burning.

Overall, there was significant increase in health disorders of the affected population in the state. The findings assume importance as the study was an attempt to explore the effect of stubble burning on health and pulmonary functions in the region, added Dr Gupta.

Apart from looking at the impact of stubble burning on health and pulmonary functions, the team of doctors, which also included Dr Meghna Gupta and Dr Tanvir Kaur Sidhu, also compared the pre- and poststubble burning parameters of spirometry — a test used to diagnose and monitor lung conditions by measuring how much air a person can breathe out in one forced breath.

In the next stage of the survey, analyses of changes in pulmonary function tests, health symptoms and effect of pollution on individuals is being carried out to explore an individual’s reaction to pollution caused by stubble burning.

A survey of 8,573 people, conducted by Dr Gupta in 2016, had revealed that 84.5% respondents were suffering from health problems because of stubble burning in Punjab. “Ageold practice of stubble burning is polluting air as a thick blanket of smog, a mixture of smoke and fog enveloped parts of the state for more than 15 days last year, endangering health of the residents,” said Dr Gupta.

During the first survey in the state, irritation in eyes was reported by 76.8% people, irritation in nose by 44.8%, and irritation in throat by 45.5% respondents. Cough or increase in cough was reported by 41.6% people and 18.0% reported wheezing

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