About 50 per cent of non-smoker auto-rickshaw drivers between 31 to 50 years of age have heart problems, revealed a study on impact of air-pollution on the drivers of e-rickshaws in the city by a private organisation.
The study was based on a health survey conducted on a group of 75 auto-rickshaw drivers of Kolkata and was released today on the occasion of National Doctors’ Day. The study was done as part of a health camp organized on 19 June at Jadavpur with the support of medical practitioners and volunteers from private organisations and INTTUC, under the guidance of an eminent city doctor. The study revealed that the majority of the auto-rickshaw drivers reported symptoms of severe eye irritation, shortness of breath, cough, chest discomfort and pain. The symptoms are even more critical among drivers above 50 years. It also brought to the fore that 100 per cent of the drivers who were non-smokers and were above 50 years of age had heart problems.
According to the surveyors, the impact on the auto-rickshaw driver is despite that most autos run on LPG. Liquid petroleum gas is not as clean as it is perceived. As per a study by TERI in 2018, an average conventional LPG auto emits approximately 0.005 tonnes of particulate matter-10 (PM10) in a year and about 3.72 tonnes of carbon dioxide in a year. As per researchers, the ambient air quality in Kolkata, particularly the streets are dominated by diesel and petrol operated vehicles, which still occupy a lion’s share of Kolkata’s vehicle count.