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Hospitals ail from serious pollution

K.C. Deepika

Most suffer twice the permissible levels of both air and noise pollution


BANGALORE: How safe are our hospitals? If statistics with the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) are any indication, major hospitals in the city suffer twice the permissible levels of both air and noise pollution.

A study by the KSPCB on Victoria Hospital shows alarming figures for the annual average values of air pollutants for the period of 2009-10. While the percentage of suspended particulate matter (SPM) is 136 per cent in excess, that of nitrogen oxide is 123 per cent more than the permissible limit.

The situation is similar in other prominent hospitals in the city. Another study conducted last year to measure noise pollution at Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences revealed that the recorded level was 86 decibels, much higher than the permitted 50. Hospitals by their nature come under the “sensitive” category. They are also meant to be silent zones. Despite this, patients are routinely exposed to air pollutants which can cause lung cancer, respiratory and heart problems and impair the nervous system.

The nuisance value of noise pollution impacts sleep and can cause hearing loss, high blood pressure, tiredness, headache and loss of appetite.

As KSPCB Member-Secretary M.S. Goudar points out, most hospitals are situated in areas where there is high traffic density, be it Victoria Hospital, Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital, Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences or Mallya Hospital. He conceded not much can be done as far as their locations are concerned.

‘Divert traffic'

“At the most, traffic can be diverted to decongest these areas. Educating people also can help,” Mr. Goudar suggested.

A KSPCB official said that the effect would be worse on patients in government hospitals as a large number of patients are treated there.

“Moreover, poor people opt for government hospitals and they cannot really afford air-conditioned rooms that would reduce the ill-effects of outside pollution,” he said.

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