According to the recent World Health Organisation report, air pollution is considered as carcinogenic as tobacco smoke and is one of the causes of lung cancer. But pollution not only causes cancer but also affects almost every organ.
Emissions like engine exhaust, especially from old vehicles, leads to air pollution. Smoke from kerosene leads to air pollution. Industrial emissions are the most dangerous. All of these can lead to cancer.
There has been a steady spurt in the number of cancer cases. Every year, there are 80,000 new cancer cases in Patna. Around 55,000 to 60,000 people die in Bihar because of cancer every year.
Dust is another major reason for cancer cases. Almost all the roads and localities in the city are covered in dust round the year. The prevalence of dust is more here because of less number of trees. The government should initiate a major plantation drive. If this is done, it will bring down pollution to a great extent.
The practice of using kerosene in vehicles is also very harmful. At many places, people mix kerosene in petrol to increase the quantity of fuel but this practice can be very harmful for people. Not many people are aware of this. Petrol and diesel do not usually emit harmful gases as much as kerosene.
The government should punish people who mix kerosene in petrol or diesel.
Those who travel in their old vehicles should get the emission test done. According to the rules, the government should create a mechanism to ensure that the emission test of every old vehicle in the state is conducted. So far, the government has done nothing in this regard. But itís high time to address this issue.
Cigarette smoking is another major cause of cancer. It is the main cause of lung cancer. Not only those who smoke suffer, but also non-smokers can be affected as they are exposed to the smoke. Cigarette smoking is harmful for both smokers and those inhaling the smoke.
Most people donít know this but any substance, which causes irritation for a long time, can lead to cancer. A person develops cancer after suffering from a long inflammation. Any substance can cause lead to if causes inflammation.
Noise pollution can also lead to cancer. There is not much awareness about this but exposure to loud noise for a prolonged period of time can cause sustained irritation and lead to cancer.
The permissible limit of noise in an urban area is 45-55 decibels. But in Patna, the level of noise pollution far exceeds that near thoroughfares.
The simultaneous exposure to both noise and air pollution can be grave for people.
The only solution, perhaps, is to go for a large-scale plantation drive. Only more trees can decrease the level of pollution in the air.
Till that happens, residents should remember to wear masks when they step outside their homes to protect themselves from the adverse effects of air pollution.