Patients with respiratory problems up

Kathmandu, December 25

The number of patients with respiratory problems has increased by over 20 per cent in recent months in Kathmandu Valley.

Doctors said long exposure to dust was responsible for dramatic rise in the number of people suffering from respiratory problems, heart ailments, lung disorders, allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, bronchial asthma, coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

“Kathmandu Valley is not a liveable place for those who are allergic to dust,” said Dr Dirgha Singh Bom, adding, “The number of patients with respiratory problems has gone up by 20 per cent.”

He said most of the patients, who visited his clinic with respiratory problems, were from Kathmandu Valley.

Haphazard digging of roads, long delay in expansion of roads across Kathmandu, haphazard storing of construction materials, ongoing work on Melamchi Drinking Water Project, among other things, are responsible for increasing dust pollution in Kathmandu, according to health experts.

Dr Bom, who is a also a former health secretary, said people in the areas where road expansion drive was under way had been the worst affected by dust pollution. Elderly people, babies and young children are the hardest hit, he said.

“No place in Kathmandu Valley is free from pollution, but those living in houses on the roadside should be more cautious about their health,” said Dr Karabirnath Yogi, in-charge of respiratory disease unit at TU Teaching Hospital.

He said the number of patients suffering from respiratory problems had risen by over 25 per cent in recent weeks.

Norvic International Hospital also said the number of patients with respiratory problems had surged by over 25 per cent in the last one year. “Every day I examine over 60 patients with respiratory problems,” said Suraj Kumar Gupta, registrar at the hospital.

The Kathmandu Valley Development Authority is widening 362 km of roads and constructing 140 km new roads in Kathmandu Valley. “Due to several reasons, we have not been able to complete construction work on time,” said KVDA Commissioner Bhai Kaji Tiwari.

Likewise, Melamchi Water Supply project has been laying water pipes in 40 different places of the Valley. Every day the project digs about 4 km. The project is also repairing over 210 km of roads in the Valley.

“We have not been able to blacktop roads due to dipping temperature in the valley,” said Lila Dhakal, spokesperson for the Project Implementation Directorate of Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited. “We have to do regular maintenance work in over 200 kilometres every year,” said Uttar Kumar Regmi of the KMC.

Department of Water Supply and Sewage said it had been laying sewage pipes in several places of the Valley. “Roads have been dug to lay sewage pipes,” said Janak Bhusan Dhaubadel of DWSS.

He also conceded that there was lack of coordination between concerned government agencies.