Burning tree leaves- an emerging health hazard in Kashmir

Burning tree leaves- an emerging health hazard in Kashmir
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SHOPIAN: Come autumn and the Kashmir’s plains are covered with toxic haze caused by burning of tree leaves and branches in most of the area. The burning of leaves pollutes the environment and causes serious health hazards.
Experts suggest the common people, especially the orchardists, against burn leaves and ask them to consult the horticulture department for scientific decomposition of leaves for more benefits.
Sheeraz Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Pulwama said that steps must be taken to make people aware about the hazards of burning leaves. “Unfortunately, the government on the ground is not taking any step to stop this mess. The massive burning of leaves could heavily damage our environment,” he said.
The officials in health department say that they are witnessing huge rush of people in the hospitals complaining major respiratory problems caused due to the polluted air. They say that most of the people are suffering due to burning of tree leaves.
But the common people say that they have no alternative for burning tree leaves. “We have no other means than burning leaves. The charcoal produced by burned leaves keeps our kangris working. There is no electricity since months and we are left with no option but to use charcoal produced by leaves,” an orchardist from Shopian said.
Elderly people according to doctors are the worse victims of smoke. “The particulate matter caused by the burning of leaves enters into the lungs and remains there for months or even years which increases the chances of respiratory infections, reduces lung capacity, and triggers asthmatic attacks which is a common menace throughout the valley, “they said.
Bashir Ahmad Lone, a medico said that the people exposed to this smoke are very prone to other infections of respiratory tracts, eyes and skin.
Dr Tariq Rasool, a scientist from Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology (SKAUST) told Kashmir Reader that people must decompose these leaves and make fertilizers out of it. “It is a fact that leaves contain fungus like scab, San jos scale and burning these leaves can help eradicate these fungi but at the same time the process heavily pollutes the environment,” he said. “We provide urea sprays among orchardists that help in speedy decomposition of leaves and fungi,” he said.
He said the people can decompose leaves in the decomposition pits.


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