There has been a growing trend of incidences of asthma in Bengaluru over the years. As per statistics revealed by WHO, 9 percent of the children in this city were affected in 1979, which has presently risen to about 30 percent since 2007 and is yet on the rise.
Asthma is an allergic disease characterized by swelling of the music lining of the bronchioles of the lungs, causing breathlessness or wheezing. This is caused by hypersensitivity of the mucus lining of one’s respiratory system. It is often not given sufficient weight by most as they are not aware of how acute it can get. What very few know is that it can not only cause acute discomfort but even kill a victim out of suffocation. The two major causes are environmental and genetic.
The fact that Bengaluru is the asthma capital of India can largely be attributed to its weather. The atmosphere has a high density of allergens that are capable of triggering asthma attacks in those prone to it.
As it is also the ‘Garden City of India’, the content of pollen is very high in its atmosphere, which often culminates in asthmatic attacks. Also, the climate of Bengaluru allows for the growth of Parthenium weeds, which are known for triggering asthmatic attacks in even those who are less prone. Dust mites, also prevalent in the city, are known to trigger off a large number of asthma attacks among children.
With urbanization on the rise, the effect that greenery has on reducing asthma has been attenuated manifold. Also, pollution levels are much higher than before with the ever-increasing number of vehicles on the road and industries to line these roads. As per records available with the Road Transport Authority, an average of 1500 vehicles is being registered on a daily basis. With the green blanket turning grey, the city is being ailed by asthma increasingly.
The most vulnerable part of the population with regards to asthma is children. This is for the simple reason that their bronchioles are smaller in size and hence get obstructed easily. Also, most schools are placed on busy roads that have a high density of vehicular traffic. Over 3000 schools across the city are situated on busy roads with heavy traffic. This onset of asthma causes the children to be irregular to school.
While the cause for Bengaluru being christened the ‘Asthma Capital of India’ are partly environmental, a part of these is also man’s abuse of resources. While the former cannot be dealt with, the latter is in our hands and must be dealt with appropriately.