Infectious diseases have been on the rise in Karachi, especially in the last couple of days. According to health experts and physicians, the city could face an outbreak of deadly diseases in the days to come. These include rising stomach, chest infection and throat infection.
While talking to a news channel, Dr. Qiaser Sajjad, secretary of Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and a renowned ENT specialist said,
Karachi is on the verge of an environmental catastrophe due to the dumping of organic matter on roads, which contains millions of types of bacteria and they are multiplying due to favorable conditions in the city. These pathogens are causing all kinds of infectious diseases from skin allergies and infections to stomach ailments, throat and chest infections, as well as problems of eyes.
Other experts which included various dermatologists, gastroenterologists and ophthalmologists blamed the extremely unhygienic environment of the city and urged the government to remedy this issue. They further warned the authorities to be ready for deadly outbreaks that can wreak havoc throughout the city.
“The entire city is stinking as if we are living in a huge garbage dump full of filth and rotten organic matter. This is due to the decomposition of organic matter as well as the burning of garbage within the city limits, which is producing and multiplying all kinds of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. These pathogens can cause a serious health issue for millions of Karachiites,” Dr. Sajjad warned.
He added that a lot of people showed up at the hospitals for various asthma, throat and nasal allergies, however, the vast majority of the city was unaware of the severity of the situation.
Breeding Grounds for the Bacteria
The experts complained that after Eid-ul-Adha, every corner of Karachi was filled with decayed intestines and blood of the sacrificial animal, which has made the city ‘the perfect breeding ground’ for bacteria. Dr. Shahana Urooj Kazmi, a microbiologist while talking to The News said,
The enteric tract of animals contains the highest number of bacteria and other pathogens and when they are left open they provide excellent breeding places for bacteria and other pathogens. These pathogens are getting airborne and causing all kinds of infectious diseases to humans and animals, which are passing these infections to others.
Dr.Shahana expressed her concern by highlighting the fact that pathogens not only contaminated the air but were also polluting water sources.
Experts complained that stomach diseases were on the rise after the recent Eid-ul-Adha as well. “Diarrhea and gastroenteritis cases have been on the rise for last few days due to contaminated water and infected food, especially areas of low socio-economic group people. We are advising people to improve hygienic conditions around their living places, use clean and boiled water for drinking and eat home-cooked food,” said Dr. Shahid Ahmed, a senior gastroenterologist.
Similarly, various eye diseases such as pink eye or eye inflammation were also on the rise due to the unhygienic environment. Dr. Abdul Qadir, an ophthalmologist, had this to say:
I have seen several cases of conjunctivitis during the last couple of days and the probable reason is the growing environmental pollution caused by extremely worst hygienic conditions in the city. I would advise people to take precautionary measures, especially children and elderly who are at a greater risk of catching these eye infections
The Sindh Environmental Protection Agency said that they were not responsible for this mess, as the responsibility of this lied in the hands of municipal authorities and the mayor of the city. The recently appointed Director General of Sepa, Muhammad Saleem Raza said,
Deterioration of environment due to lack of cleanliness is the responsibility of the mayor and DMCs and we cannot be held responsible for that.