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30 per cent of Bangalore's children suffer from asthma
Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore
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November 06, 2007 19:16 IST

It has been called the IT capital of India. However it is not too long before Bangalore will become the Asthma capital of the country. Various studies conducted by organisations including the WHO and UNICEF show that over 30 per cent of the children in Bangalore suffer from asthma.

The disturbing and growing trend in Karnataka is being attributed to steady industrial growth and vehicular population. Records available with the Road Transport Authority show that at least 1500 new vehicles are registered daily.

Dr Mohan Shenoy, a general practitioner in Bangalore, said that the number is likely to increase over the coming years as there seems to be no respite from pollution from industries and vehicles in the city. It is up to the parents to take utmost care and ensure that their children wear masks every time they are out in the open, he said.

Statistics reveal that in 1979 only 9 per cent of the children were affected with asthma, but the figure rose to almost 30 per cent in 2007.

Dr. Prakash Hegde,  another general practitioner, said that there is no point in complaining now. Parents should not ignore the problem and should seek medical help. In many cases, parents mistake this problem for a cough and end up giving self medication. This should be avoided, he says.

However it is no surprise that Bangalore has such a high rate of asthma patients among children. The city is fast polluting and the concept of CNG for vehicles is yet to catch on.

Although some of the auto rickshaw are using CNG, there a good number of them who continue to use petrol. The problem which is faced by autos is the lack of CNG stations in Bangalore.

The number of CNG stations could be counted on your finger tip, as a result of which autos continue to use petrol. Worse, these autos mix petrol with kerosene, which in turn contributes immensely to the pollution.

Another problem is that of dust mites in city which also contribute towards cases of asthma among the 26 lakh children who are in Bangalore.

Said Shantharam S, an environmentalist: "Children are most prone to this problem as their schools are often located on busy roads where the vehicle population is the highest."

In the evening, these children wait for their school buses and in the bargain end up getting thoroughly affected by the smoke emitted by the vehicles.

In Bangalore there are around 3000 schools situated in the heavy traffic zone and it is the children from these schools who suffer the most. The schools on their part say that they are aware of this problem and a large number of students are irregular to school as they suffer from asthma.

Several schools in Bangalore have now decided to conduct more health check up camps. Schools also have decided to plant more trees in and around the premises.

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