Traffic cops bear the brunt of air pollution'

40% of policemen have high levels of carbon monoxide in their lungs, says study.

Bengaluru: The chaos of Namma Bengaluru’s infamous traffic and the ever-increasing air pollution may always be a hot topic of discussion among city residents, but very little is thought about the traffic police personnel who are exposed to it for long hours on a daily basis.

A recent nationwide screening investigation conducted in Bengaluru by Narain Sewa Sansthan, a non-profit organisation, revealed that around 40% of the traffic policemen who underwent screening had high levels of Carbon monoxide (CO) gas in their lungs. This was mainly due to air pollution and in some cases smoking.

As part of the survey, 605 police personnel across 11 stations from the city, including Electronic City, Ashok Nagar and High Ground stations, have been screened using CO analyser.

As per its readings 0-6 ppm (parts per million) is indicated as green zone; 7-15 ppm as intermediate zone, 16-20 ppm as red zone and above 20 ppm as danger zone.

The investigation revealed that most traffic police personnel had CO levels in the intermediate and red zone, which is dangerous to health. Personnel deployed at Old Airport Road and Ulsoor Gate police station jurisdictions had high levels of CO gas in their lungs.

“The major cause is automobile pollution as vehicles emit high volume of poisonous gas. Use of mask is very important for traffic personnel, who spend a lot of time on road or at signals. It is equally important to educate the motorists to switch off their vehicles when they are waiting at the signals. It reduces pollution,” said Dr Sachin Sinha, secretary of Narain Sewa Sansthan.

V K Jagadeesh, DCP, Traffic (East) told Deccan Chronicle, “The department has provided masks for all the traffic personnel. We had made it mandatory as well earlier, but many of them still do not use. We will try to educate them and create more awareness regarding the health aspect so that they use it regularly.” Dr Sumant Mantri, Consultant Pulmonologist at Apollo Hospitals, Bannergatta Road, has pointed out that long-term exposure to air pollution can lead to serious lung ailments. “There's good evidence that outdoor air pollution contributes to lung cancer, and it's possible that long-term exposure to air pollution is linked to the development of asthma and other breathing issues,” he added.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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