Ali Afzal Afzaal

Taskeen Zehra, eight, a resident of Parachinar area of Kurram district, is fondly referred as princess by family. However, the eight years old goes to hospital on every other week to get treatment for rashes that appear on her face, causing severe burning sensations and discomfort. This is her routine for past many years. Mehnaz Bibi, her mother told TNN that her minor daughter was very anxious about her condition. Besides, she said that her two minor sons also regularly visit doctor for recurring throat infections.

Local journalist Javed Bangash said that Parachinar town, which is headquarters of Kurram district was facing severe dust problem. He said that they send their children to schools in clean dress but there was so much dust that when the kids return their dresses were soiled.

Mr Bangash said that he himself suffered from recurring allergies and skin dieses due to dust and pollution.

On the other hand, Mr Ali, who runs a private school in the town, also said that he even went to Peshawar to see doctors. “Doctors are telling me that my conditions were due to dust and pollution,” Mr Ali said.

What doctors say about dust caused allergic reactions

Doctors at the district headquarters hospital Parachinar said that more than 1,000 patients turned up at the hospital seeking treatment for sore throat, cough, cold, flu and skin problems. However, doctors consider pollution to be responsible for these illnesses. Many of these patients never recover and are referred to Peshawar for treatment.

Dr. Mumtaz Hussain, head of the hospital said that last year they treated a total of 226,000 patients. However, he added that more people were affected due air pollution in summers.

On the other hand, Dr Zulfiqar Ali a child specialist at the hospital said that most of the patients brought the hospital was suffering due to excessive dust in the city. “Children are more vulnerable to dust caused problems as compared to elders,” he said.

He said that he mostly recommends such patients to use face masks as precautionary measure.

Dr. Yusuf Dawar, a dermatologist said that most of the Parachinar patients coming to Kohat and Peshawar for treatment were affected due to pollution. “Many of them suffer from asthma, cold, sore throat and skin problems,” Dr Dawar said.

Javded Jay Jay, a social activist said that government should take steps to control air pollution in the Parachinar town. IN order to achieve this objective, it was necessary to improve the conditions of roads in and around Parachinar.

Praveen, a sweeper working for the municipality said that they were unable to properly focus on sanitation due to non-payment of their salaries. “There is more dust and heaps of garbage everywhere across the city,” she said.

She said that they sanitation staff were mo concerned their livelihood due to non-payment of salaries.

District administration version

Parachinar Municipality’s chief officer Syed Bahar Hussain said that his staff salaries were pending for past many years. He said that they paid outstanding pay for past 35 months last week from Rs 30 funds released to them.

However, he added that they are another outstanding amount of Rs 140 million to be paid to the government employees. Besides, he said budget of Rs 150 million has been allocated to resolve issues of this city.

“These funds will be allocated for beautification of the city as well, pavement of footpaths and street, which will also address the issue of pollution,” Mr Hussain said.

On the other hand, Aamir Nawaz, assistant commissioner Parachinar also said that public carelessness was also to blame for the city’s woes to some extent. He said that public should also play their role in keeping their city clean.

Besides, he said that work on for new plan for the city will be started in next few days. Mr Nawaz said that population of Parachinar city stood at 2600 in the 2017 census. However, after the construction of the by-pass road, the population has suddenly jumped to over 60,000, he said.

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