BENGALURU: Standing at junctions that see massive traffic jams and lack of proper pollution control enforcement for vehicles make traffic police across Bengaluru inhale polluted air, often leading to lung cancer. In an attempt to create awareness on lung cancer, Health Care Global Enterprises (HCG) distributed anti-pollution masks to 200 traffic police personnel on Monday. There was also a screening for lung health for the police.
Dr Vishal Rao, surgical oncologist, HCG Cancer Center Hospital, who was present on the occasion said, “Bengaluru is ever growing and so is the reliance on private transport. Our city traffic cops have prolonged exposures to dust and toxic emissions like nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides from vehicles, making them extremely vulnerable to lung related diseases”.
Globocon reported that 48,698 new lung cancer cases were reported in men and 19,097 in women. They resulted in the death of 45,363 men and 18,112 women. Dr Dinesh Bhaktha, pulmonologist, HCG Cancer Hospital, said air pollution caused by vehicles, construction activities and burning of certain substances result in the release of hazardous gases and dust particles.
“Studies have shown that PM 2.5+ level pollution in the air is almost equivalent to smoking one cigarette a day. Chronic infections are risk factors for lungs, the reason being exposure to environmental pollution which comprises of air and water pollution, the former being more prevalent”, he said. Kavya K, a traffic police officer, said, “during rush hours, the exposure to dust and smoke is the highest. We have to endure it for the whole day. Most of us have various lung related diseases by the age of our retirement”.
A doctor who attended the event said, “A few years from now, our environment will be labelled as a carcinogen. The increased UV emission in Bengaluru is also a concern. 50% of the pollution is from vehicles and other 50% is through construction. The people who carry the burden of this are the traffic police. The government should take preventive initiatives to support traffic police in helping them”.