FOR the first time,Pune doctors will work with the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) to assess the impact of air pollution on health. The first air quality forecasting system,which has been developed by IITM,has been operating in Pune for six months now. Researchers have been able to identify maximum concentration of pollutants in various areas.
Dr Rajeev Joshi,consultant in healthcare informatics; Dr Arvind Bhome,consultant in pulmonary medicine; Dr Sundeep Salve,director of Chest Research Foundation and Dr Sanjay Juvekar,coordinator and key researcher at KEM Hospitals research centre at Vadu have expressed keen interest in studying the impact of deteriorating quality of air on humans health.
Joshi said air pollution related diseases include allergic rhinitis,hypertension,chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,conjunctivitis and nausea. We have devised a system for urban health analysis and alerts (SUHANA) to assess if the deteriorating quality of air has impacted the health of humans. We will be collecting data from patients suffering from asthma,rhinitis and other such details,send SMS alerts regarding the weather change (based on IITMs air quality forecasting system) and risk factors due to such climactic changes. An advisory will be given to these patients and in the later stage doctors will evaluate whether these interventions helped in reducing the patients cost of healthcare, he said.
A focussed study on respiratory diseases has been planned at the Chest Research Foundation,while at KEMs research centre at Vadu,an air quality monitoring station will be made functional. Data generated on the air quality will be then co-related to what kind of diseases people are suffering from in rural areas, said Dr Gufran Beig,programme director of the System for Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) at IITM.
An assessment after six months of setting up 11 air quality forecasting stations across the city showed that maximum concentration of CO,NO2 and O3 is found over Shivajinagar,Hadapsar and Pashan respectively. SAFAR provides location-specific information on air quality in near real time and also a 24-hour forecast. After six months the data indicates that people frequently experience eye irritation and headache at major traffic junction,like Shivajinagar,due to the elevated concentration of CO and high concentration of particulate matter,O3 and NO2.
IITM now plans to tie up with doctors and researchers to generate health data to assess the impact of air pollution on health. The aim is to protect people from the adverse effects of air pollutants,like headache,eye irritation,respiratory diseases and asthma by ensuring that the concentration of air pollutants are below the NAAQS.
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