August 20, 2016

Polluted air in Yangon could cause lung disease

Car exhaust fumes are also blamed for polluting the air. Photo: Aye Min Soe
Car exhaust fumes are also blamed for polluting the air. Photo: Aye Min Soe

The Department of Public Health has announced that the air in and around Yangon contains particular matter at a level of PM10, which can cause lung diseases.
The results of the department’s atmosphere reading show the air to contain many pollutants recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), although the air is not as polluted as other Asian countries such as Thailand and Japan.
“The air shows more pollutants than other local atmospheres, although not to the point whereby there are enough to be very dangerous to people,” said Dr Kyi Lwin Oo, director of the Department of Environmental Health.
According to the WHO, the presence of pollutant particles in the atmosphere can contribute toward lung diseases, such as asthma, as well as lung cancers and can destroy the ozone layer, which protects the world from the harmful penetration of the sun’s UV rays.
“Minuscule airborne pollutant particles enter the lungs through the windpipe. They collect in the lungs, causing lung diseases. Human beings are creatures that cannot live without breathing, so we need to take care to ensure the air we breathe in is clean,” said Dr Than Htun, the retired deputy director-general of the Workplace Health Department.
Air pollution in Yangon is at its worst during the dry, hot months in the first quarter of the year.
On occasion, atmosphere readings identify levels of pollutants that can cause damage to the health of young children and the elderly, an orange-level warning in accordance with the WHO’s criteria.
The Department of Public Health began taking readings on atmosphere pollutants in 2008.—Myitmakha News Agency


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