News Desk, News Nation 360 : At a press conference hosted by the SwitchON Foundation with assistance from the Association of Chest Physicians of West Bengal, South Asian Medical Students Associations, Society of Emergency Medicine of India, West Bengal Chapter, and West Bengal Doctors Forum, top medical experts released a critical health advisory on the eve of National Pollution Prevention Day. The advisory addressed the growing concerns about air pollution and its negative effects on public health. In addition to preventive measures and practises that should be adopted in daily life to better prepare for the onslaught of polluted winter days, the health advisory offers several ways that citizens, schools, colleges, and the government can prevent the impact of air pollution. Kolkata continues to struggle with its unenviable ranking as the second most polluted city in the world, according to The Air Quality and Health in Cities, a report published by the US-based Health Effects Institute and the Global Burden of Disease Project of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The Central Pollution Control Board and the West Bengal Pollution Control Board's ongoing monitoring emphasises the need for immediate and comprehensive action to address this ongoing decline in air quality and its detrimental effects on public health and the environment. The medical community stressed the urgent need for increased awareness and preventative measures to protect people's health in light of the worsening air quality. Several prominent medical professionals from Kolkata attended the press conference, including Dr Arup Halder from CMRI Hospital, Dr Soirindhri Banerjee from IPGME&R & SSKM Hospital, Dr Suman Mallik from NH Narayana Super Speciality Hospital, and Dr Sanjukta Dutta from Fortis Hospital. Addressing the Press Conference Dr Arup Halder, Consultant Pulmonologist, CMRI Hospital stated that air pollution is the fourth largest cause of death worldwide, accounting for 90 lakh deaths annually, according to the Global Burden of Diseases report. The only way to combat air pollution is to be aware of the threat. They encourage everyone to be aware of their surroundings and take precautions to safeguard their respiratory health on this National Air Pollution Day. The pressing issue of Kolkata's poor air quality was brought up during the press conference. It was discovered that the air quality around Victoria Maidan is among the worst in Kolkata, with Victoria station's readings of AQM under CPCB over the years displaying concerning trends where the quality of the air is rapidly declining. The Air Quality Index (AQI) increased by 70% between December 2021 and December 2022. It was concerning to see that, from 2021 to 2023, pollution in Victoria increased by 34% in June and 22% in August, even though the monsoon usually improves the quality of the air. Dr Soirindhri Banerjee, Senior Resident, Radiation Oncology, IPGME&R & SSKM hospital also added that she has seen a worrying link between extended exposure to air pollution and a higher chance of developing some types of cancer. Because the harmful substances in contaminated air can cause alterations in cells, it is crucial to take public health precautions to lessen this environmental risk.
Pic - Anustup Kundu