Dawn News

PESHAWAR, April 4: A recent study has found prevalence of lung problems among traffic cops in the provincial capital.

According to the findings of the study done by Peshawar traffic police with the help of Khyber Teaching Hospital experts, of the 65 traffic police constables deployed at eight key points in the city, 19 suffered from lung problems for being exposed to prolonged vehicular emissions.

The study was carried out to know effects of air pollution on health of traffic cops.

"On the basis of this survey, I am going to recommend medical checkup of such constables after every three months," Senior Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Najeebur Rehman told Dawn on Wednesday.

According to a traffic police official, on average, traffic cops perform duty at the same point for around two months for around eight hours a day. They also have to perform special duty when a very important person (VIP) travels in the city.

The official said 550 traffic policemen worked at 140 points mostly on busy roads with high vehicular emissions. He said the dust generated by work on roads also added to the problem.

"We just wear a mask to cover mouth and nose. Almost every week, we have complaints of chest and respiratory tract problem and have to take medicine," said a traffic police constable.

Another cop deployed on GT Road said: "We can hardly breathe here." He said traffic police were provided with mask, their only protection against pollution.

Traffic police official said many constables didn't even use masks for being unaware of their utility.

Ironically, roads in the city are often congested with vehicles emitting thick black smoke. Clouds of dust make things more annoying for road users and traffic constables and thus, exposing them to pollution.

According to the statistics compiled by Vehicular Emissions Testing Stations (Vets), which checks vehicular emissions in collaboration with traffic police, 3,192 vehicles were checked in January this year and 10,100 of them were issued challan for poisonous emissions.

In February, 3,688 vehicles were tested in Peshawar and Swat, and 10,409 were found emitting poisonous smoke (CO2). After Peshawar and Swat, other cities including Abbottabad, DI Khan and Mardan could Vets.

According to an official of the local Transport Department, there are more than 400,000 registered vehicles in the provincial capital but many of them have yet to be tested by Vets.

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