People advised not to burn plastic trash


Kathmandu, December 6

Doctors have advised people not to burn plastic trash as the smoke from burning plastic materials poses a serious threat to the environment and public health.

When plastic is burnt, carbon monoxide, dioxins and furans are released into the air. “Exposure to smoke produced from burning plastic increases the risk of respiratory diseases, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases,” said Dr Subodh Sagar Dhakal, associate professor, Kathmandu Medical College and Teaching Hospital.

According to Dr Dhakal, smoke produced from burning plastic leads to hyper sensitivity and difficulty breathing. This eventually also leads to problems in lungs.

One third of patients visiting the hospital have been diagnosed with lung diseases, he said. COPD has become a real threat to people who are exposed to dust and smoke as the disease can cause irreversible damage to lungs. Doctors have advised people to stop burning such material and also quit smoking, use alternative energy for cooking and wear surgical masks to prevent themselves from the negative effects of smoke and pollution.

As per World Health Organisation, total deaths from COPD are projected to increase by more than 30 per cent in the next 10 years unless urgent action is taken to reduce the underlying risk factors, especially tobacco use. Estimates show that COPD would become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. The Global Burden of Disease Study reports a prevalence of 251 million cases of COPD globally in 2016.