Karachi is one of the largest city of Pakistan, with rapid industrialization and a growing population, which keeps contributing to pollution.
And because there is no check and balance here and we don’t have an effective and operating organization like EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) its next to impossible to calculate the exact level of pollution here.
Air pollution, water pollution, sanitation and hygiene are one of the major threats people of Karachi face and it also puts them likely on a higher risk of catching diseases listed below:-
Each day a new industry or building is teared down, which means heavy emission of industrial pollutants, open burning, incinerators and common pollutants from vehicles and machines is released into the air, along with “Smog”.
What is Smog?
The term “Smog” describes a mixture of emissions–including emissions from industry pollutants, cars and other vehicles, open burning, and incinerators–under specific climate conditions. Smog also contains a health harming pollutant called ozone.
Smog levels become higher in the winter season and because Karachi is an urban city its effects are much stronger and because of that we see more people coughing and children have prolonged bronchitis which just wont go away easily.
Toxic chemicals released by burning of garbage and from industries and also emitted from cars, all contribute to diseases.
Nitrogen dioxide, Sulfur dioxide, hydrocarbons, Lead and particulate matter are present in substantial quantity in the air of Karachi
Coughing and Throat Irritation
Its not only old people and children who are more prone to pollutants, in fact young people who are going out each day for work are the ones who are exposed most to air pollution. And that is why nowadays bronchitis is very common among young people.
Worsening Asthma Symptoms
Asthma is a genetically inherited disease and its not curable, but like many other genetically inherited diseases it is manageable.
However in a big industrial city like Karachi, Asthma patients are more prone to suffer from worsening asthma symptoms such as chest tightening, breathing problems and coughing.
Difficulty in Breathing and Lung Damage
During exercise or after some exertion our lungs tend to work faster which makes them demand for more air but if this air polluted then we tend to inhale more pollutants which in turn makes it difficult to breath. Research has shown that prolonged exposure to air pollution can damage the lining of the lungs.
2. Food borne Diseases
The recent incidence of a teenage girl dying from food poisoning after consuming a chicken burger from a well known food outlet has raised many questions among Karachites. But let me make one thing clear its not just one fatal incidence that should suddenly make us think beyond the extreme.
Rather we must always be vigilant when eating from outside.
Food borne diseases are very common in Karachi owing to the total absence of strict quality control in most of the food outlets.
Almost every person in Karachi has suffered from food poisoning at some point in their lives, be it mild or severe after eating from outside.
And don’t only think it happens from the street vendors or the shabby dirty burger points but also nice and clean with sparkly glass counter tops restaurants also contribute to food borne diseases.
“How hygienic are the food handlers, the chefs, are they suffering from a potential diseases, do they appear healthy yet are the carriers of some pathogenic bacteria? Do they wash hands in between cooking meat and vegetables, do they use different utensils for cooked and raw items? Do they have an efficient exhaust system? Are they wearing disposable gloves while preparing the food? How often do they change the oil? And a very important question what is the quality of water they are using to prepare the food?”
I’m sure most of the people don’t think or even want to think before consuming that delicious crispy fried chicken from the,what so “looks” clean and hygienic food stall.
Common food borne illnesses you are likely to catch in Karachi are:-
- Amoebic dysentery
- Botulism (deadliest food poisoning in the world)
- Hepatitis A
- Travelers diarrhea
The common symptoms is most of these diseases is stomach cramps, low grade fever, nausea and vomiting, watery stools and in extreme cases pain in the limbs and joints.
3. Water borne Diseases
Water in Karachi is one of the most polluted, unchecked, and improperly treated water.
I myself have conducted many lab experiments assessing the quality of water from different sources in the Microbiology laboratory of Karachi University.
Even potable water (water that is safe to drink) is contaminated with harmful bacteria like Salmonella typhi and virulent strain of E.coli.
So a smart and healthy investment for living in Karachi is to invest in clean, treated, mineral water especially for drinking and cooking. This way you are less likely to suffer from water borne diseases such as:-
- Hepatitis A
- Dengue fever
4. Skin Diseases
According to research around 30% population of Karachi is suffering from different types of skin diseases due to poor cleanliness, industrialization, urbanization and lack of proper awareness about the diseases.
People with oily and dry skin are more prone towards skin diseases as compared to people with normal skin.
Since the weather in Karachi is towards extreme levels, this raises the risk of developing skin diseases.
Skin diseases increase in summer and monsoon season.
Common skin diseases that can develop due to air pollution and extreme weather in Karachi are:-
- Heat Rash
- Rash in different parts of the body
- Hair Fall
Karachi is not just like any other metropolitan city in the world.
Besides being huge, happening, chic, trendy it has many other negative issues, like, security, energy crisis and inflation.
News channels, social media, and also how the world portrays Karachi is like a scary, unsafe, with crazy people city.
Although this is not completely true it does have some truth to it and because of these additional factors life in Karachi not only brings the urban city depression (mood swings, feeling lonely, unhappy) but also stress related to safety in the city (people feel scared to move around, lack of confidence, don’t want to share their thoughts and ideas, constant headaches and body pain).
Electricity load shedding, Gas load shedding, petrol strikes, and now days water shortage all these problems create nuisance in the everyday lives of Karachiites.
With so many issues in the city, people of Karachi are very much prone to suffer from depression at some point in their lives.