Seven-year-old Drishti had to be taken to hospital while on her way to school after she complained of breathlessness. Abhinav is only 9, but dependent on an inhaler since he was diagnosed with asthma last winter.
Cases of bronchitis, asthma and diseases caused by pollution have shot up in Gurgaon, its air contaminated by abnormally high levels of particulate matter as a result of rapid industrial development and the construction boom.
Doctors in the city say they receive 25% more cases of asthma and bronchitis and eight out of 10 children suffer meso-bronchial allergy attacks in the first 10 years of their life. “Air pollution is definitely a trigger for asthmatic attacks. Any attack may become severe and may even be life-threatening,” says Naval Jain, director, Sunrise Hospital.
The rise in air pollution should ring alarm bells in the administrative corridors of a city that prides itself on living standards and infrastructure, the latest data from the Pollution Control Board coming about a week after the World Health Organization classified air pollution as carcinogenic.
Hundreds of construction sites across NCR generate significant levels of dust from concrete, cement and other building material.
Dr Krishan Chugh, paediatrics director at Fortis, says, “Unfortunately, Gurgaon’s development has come with a whole baggage of problems, leading to not only significant issues of air pollution but also water and noise pollution.”