Respiratory Diseases top the list for Guwahati in 2018
Guwahatians suffered from maximum respiratory diseases in 2018 among all diseases. As many as 75,475 cases related to acute respiratory infection were registered in Kamrup (Metro) from January to December 2018.
This was revealed by data obtained by the Directorate of Health Services, Kamrup (Metro) for the number of cases registered against different diseases for 2018.
According to experts, some of the major causes of acute respiratory diseases include exposure to polluted air, excessive exposure to smoke and other toxic materials and poor immune system among others.
Guwahati has seen an increase in the levels of air pollution over the past few years.
According to the latest data obtained by the Pollution Control Board of Assam (PCBA), the city’s air pollution levels showed an increasing trend over the past two months. The average PM 2.5 level in the month of October in Guwahati was 53.36 while this increased sharply to 97.9 in November.
PM 2.5 are fine particulate matters suspended in the air measuring two and a half microns or less in width. There are around 25,000 microns in an inch. Presence of high levels of PM 2.5 in the air reduces visibility and causes the air to appear hazy and can pose serious health-related risks among people including respiratory issues.
The PCBA data showed that during November, the pollutants in the air- both PM 2.5, as well as PM 10, were recorded to be much higher than the prescribed level.
As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the prescribed safe limit for PM 2.5 is 60 micrograms per cubic metre and for PM 10 it is 100 micrograms per cubic. However, the average PM 2.5 level as recorded for November was 97.9 while the average PM 10 level was 162.2.
Guwahati was selected as part of 102 non-attainment cities by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Non-attainment cities are those cities in which the prescribed Ambient Air Quality Standards as set by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) are violated.
Experts feel that Guwahati with its increasing pollution levels, escalated by vehicular emissions, and with the setting up of new industries, will soon emulate New Delhi if some concrete steps are not taken to curb the pollution levels.
“Guwahati’s pollution scenario, escalated by the increasing numbers of vehicles and with the setting up of new industries, can soon compete with the Delhi’s air quality,” said an environmental expert.
According to a study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) updated in September 2017, Guwahati stands in the “High” category with 85.6 Pollution Index on a scale of 100.
Guwahatians severely suffer from water-borne diseases
The second most common ailment which troubled Guwahatians during the past year was acute diarrhoeal diseases including acute gastroenteritis. A total of 24,757 cases were registered for the same during the past year.
According to experts, diarrhoeal infection is one of the most common forms of infections in the country. It especially affects children below the age of five years and is also a leading reason in their deaths.
Joint director of health services of Kamrup (Metro), Ganesh Saikia, informed that apart from Japanese encephalitis which claimed 4 lives in 2018, no other disease recorded cases of deaths.
“We saw that in Kamrup (Metro) only Japanese Encephalitis recorded a few deaths during the past year. Apart from this, there were no reported deaths under any other diseases,” said Saikia.
Diarrhoea is an infectious disease caused by a host of bacterial, viral and parasitic organisms which is mostly spread by contaminated water. The infection is more common in areas prone to unsanitary and unhygienic conditions.
In Kamrup (Metro), a large number of cases were also recorded for vector-borne diseases. Third highest cases were recorded for malaria with 22,713 cases being registered in the past year.
Dog bite cases a major menace in 2018
In 2018, the city registered 6,548 cases of dog bites. In recent years, Guwahati has witnessed a tremendous rise in the stray dog population. This increase has led to an increase in instances of dog bites.
While the only way to curb the increasing numbers is regularly carrying out Animal Birth Control (ABC) and Anti-Rabies Vaccination (ARV) programmes, the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) has been largely unsuccessful in curbing the problem due to lack of fund and equipment.
Although counting of dogs and finding their exact number is difficult, a GMC official informed G Plus that there are about 1 lakh dogs currently living on the streets of the city. However, officials at a city based animal welfare organization - Just Be Friendly (JBF) - claimed that going by the ratio of 1:40 (the current dog to human ratio in India is pegged at 1: 40, that is, 1 dog for every 40 human beings), Guwahati would have close to 30,000 dogs on the roads.
The JBF had also conducted a sample survey on dog population on head count basis within a radius of 10 square kilometres with the city’s Beltola-Survey area being the focal point. During the survey conducted in 2009, 3,000 dogs were found in Survey area alone.