Bengaluru: Our city’s traffic cops have a tough job - no argument there! And if managing the famed Bengaluru traffic isn’t enough, they have one more thing to worry about: their health. A recent study on traffic cops revealed that a large number of them suffer from some sort of respiratory symptoms or have reduced lung functions.
The first phase was conducted on 235 city policemen by a team of pulmonologists from St. John’s hospital over a period of five days. "We have covered eight traffic police stations from south East Zone (traffic) screening 235 traffic cops who underwent a pulmonary function test and filled out a questionnaire. Of the 235 cops screened, 72 showed reduced lung function," says Abdullah A Rehman, founder, Anti-Pollution Drive (APD) Foundation. The study also revealed that a majority of them suffered from persistent cough, blocked nose and watery eyes. "Chest tightness, wheezing and breathlessness were other ailments they mentioned," added Abdullah.
Dr Priya Ramachandran, Professor, Pulmonology and Respiratory Medicine at St Johns Medical College and Hospital stressed the need for regular screenings and tests to ensure that they are safe from the various diseases caused by direct and prolonged exposure to air pollutants. "Air pollution has both acute and chronic effects on human health, affecting a number of different systems and organs. They should be screened before appointment at various locations and regular check-ups should be conducted as well. They should also be encouraged to have as healthy lifestyle, discourage smoking and also they should be encouraged to wear masks while on duty," Dr Priya explained. Studies also show that increased exposure to air pollutants leads to a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Unfortunately, the city needs stricter law enforcement on the roads. "Rule 115, 116 of Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR) and Section 190 of The Motor Vehicles Act should be enforced. If a vehicle is not carrying a valid PUC certificate, it is liable to be prosecuted under Section 190(2) of the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act along with a penalty of Rs 1,000 for the first offence and Rs 2,000 for every subsequent offence has been prescribed under the law," explains Abdullah.
Police personnel, especially those on duty on the roads or in police stations located in congested areas are prone to lung disease caused by heavy vehicular traffic emissions, dust and industrial pollutants. They are more prone to catching allergies and infections which can lead to asthma, and in extreme conditions, cause the incurable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD).