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November 20, 2016

Changing weather, increasing pollution affecting health of Karachiites


November 20, 2016

With the onset of winter, something unpredictable is going on with the weather of Karachi and the changing weather is affecting health of Karachiites.

Karachi, begin a coastal region, enjoys a tropical coastal climate with hot summers and mild winters. The issue of climate change in Karachi has been causing rapid shifts in weather patterns, resulting in an adverse impact on health. 

The city’s weather is so unpredictable these days; it is cold and foggy in the morning, hot in the afternoon and cold again in the night. 

Smog, fed by traffic fumes, has worsened these conditions. According to meteorologists, smog is a yellowish or blackish fog formed mainly by a mixture of pollutants in the atmosphere which consists of fine particles and ground level ozone. Smog occurs mainly because of air pollution and contains a mixture of various gases with dust and water vapor. Smoggy conditions cause a hazy air that makes breathing difficult. Asthmatic patients especially suffer more.

The World Health Organisation’s Urban Ambient Air Pollution database shows that Karachi has been ranked at No. 14 among the 20 most air polluted cities of the world.

Over 12,000 tonnes of solid waste is generated by the metropolis, of which only 4,800 tonnes reaches the landfill site. The rest is torched where it is lying, thereby adding to pollution in the city.

Besides, the more than four million vehicles emitting dangerous fumes contribute to air pollution, as do the industrial units of Karachi.

Sudden changes in weather conditions and an increasing volume of smog in the atmosphere are causing more and more people to fall sick. Doctors are overwhelmed by the number of patients suffering from killer headaches, asthma attacks, fatigue, flu and fever.

Dr Nasir Hussain, a general physician and consultant pulmonologist, says that weather fluctuations can trigger the membranes inside your nose to swell, causing symptoms like a runny nose, congestion, sneezing and asthma attack.

“The changing weather can also cause migraine and fatigue, and it can even put stress on your immune system.” 

The doctor says people can avoid these symptoms by simply avoiding coming in contact with the substance you are allergic to. Also, by keeping yourself healthy you can actually endure the stress caused by weather changes and would not show any signs of discomfort or sickness, he adds.

According to health experts, it is likely that we all benefit from the frequent stimulation of changing weather. The modern lifestyle, with air conditioners, humidifiers and heaters, however, blunts the weather shocks. In other words, we are no longer trained to cope with weather stress. Therefore, the experts say, the best advice is to harden your senses by exposing them to the elements.

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