Air pollution increases risk of childhood obesity and diabetes

A few days back I saw thick black smoke emanating from an illegal roadside garage and stopped to see what was happening.
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Illegal roadside garage emitting carcinogenic fumes

I was shocked to see two men from a roadside garage burning wires made of copper and insulated with PVC, apparently to extract the copper.

In the bargain they were spreading carcinogenic fumes over a residential area housing thousands of citizens blissfully unaware of the deadly air they were breathing.
What are the dangers, you may wonder?
There is increasing evidence for the role of environment in pathogenesis in many diseases. Children below 5 years of age and adults older than 50 years are most at risk. A global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks by the WHO has shown that 23% of global deaths and 26% of deaths among children under five are due to modifiable environmental factors. The harmful effects of air pollution on respiratory health are well-known to us and well-established. Air pollution has been linked to many non communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, cancers and type 2 diabetes.
A new study has again underscored the dire need for a healthier environment. This study has suggested that  exposure to ambient air pollution may contribute to development of type 2 diabetes through direct effects on insulin sensitivity and β-cell function. The study reported in the January 2017 issue of the journal Diabetes showed that exposure to elevated concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM 2.5) had adverse effects on longitudinal measures of insulin sensitivity, β-cell function, and obesity in children at high risk for developing diabetes.
So what can you do?
Here is what I did.
I went to the people burning the wires and asked them what they were doing. They said they were burning wires to extract copper, and this was the first time they were doing this.
I told them the dangers of burning such things, not only on their own health but also on the health and lives of thousands of people staying around.
They immediately doused the flames with water.
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Caught and educated
As a good steward of the environment, and a citizen of this nation, be alert and do your bit wherever you are. You will be blessed by the living God who sees everything and is no respecter of persons, dear reader.
Jesus would surely not approve of or tolerate any evil in the area where he lived. I consider myself to be an ambassador for Christ, and take responsibility for what is going on in the area where I live. So I do my bit to tackle any evil or injustice when I see it.
If each Indian were to do so I am sure India would be a much better place to live in, and future generations will be grateful.
God bless you and India.
Do post what you have done to encourage others.

Mumbaiites continue to breathe poor quality air, except in Borivali

As a citizen of Mumbai and a medical doctor, I am very concerned about the quality of air we breathe. The Hindustan Times reported today that the city continued to have poor air for the second day in a row.The pollutant-measuring indicator air quality index (AQI) fell from 224 on Monday morning to 220 by the evening, both falling under the ‘poor’ category. There was no change in minimum temperatures from Sunday, which was 4.5 degrees Celsius below normal.

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The System for Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) predicted an AQI of 220 for Tuesday as well. An AQI between 101 and 200 falls under the ‘moderate’ category, while that between 201 and 300 is ‘poor’ and beyond 301 falls into the ‘very poor’ category.

The Santacruz weather station, representative of Mumbai, recorded the night temperature at 16.4 degrees Celsius, similar to Monday and November 11, which has been the lowest November night temperature since 2012. The night temperature at Colaba, representative of south Mumbai was recorded at 22 degrees Celsius, a degree Celsius below normal.

Officials from the weather bureau said the current wind pattern over the city has led to cool temperatures and a decline in air quality. “From late Saturday night onwards, cool winds from the north-western parts of the country has led to a cooling effect,” said KS Hosalikar, deputy director general, western region, India Meteorological Department. “As a result, due to the process of inversion, cool temperatures have allowed pollutant particles to settle close to the surface. We expect these conditions to continue till Wednesday.”

Meanwhile, day temperatures were more than 2 degrees Celsius above normal as Colaba and Santacruz, both recorded 35.6 degrees Celsius as the maximum temperature. “During the day, the winds are not strong and this has allowed temperatures to rise. However, cool winds during the night are leading to a fall in temperatures,” said Shubhangi Bhute, director, Regional Meteorological Centre, IMD. “The gap between day and night temperatures can lead to health issues such as cough, cold and fever,” Bhute added.

On Monday, Malad was the most polluted location with an AQI of 307 (very poor), followed by Navi Mumbai at 303 (very poor). While majority of the locations in Mumbai recorded ‘poor’ air quality, Borivli had the cleanest air with an AQI of 132 (moderate).072813_1339_4.png

As part of a citizens Forum called the New Link Road Residents Forum, http://www.newlinkroad.wordpress.com we have been pro active to ensure that Borivali and its near by areas are free from man made sources of pollution. We wish that more readers would be encouraged to take steps to combat this menace.

When the solution is worse than the problem!

If someone were to suggest to you that the solution to your headache would be to shoot your head off, how would that sound? I know it can sound absurd, but to me this whole debate about the solution being offered for the woman who is pregnant but does not wish to become a mother, the solution that the Medical fraternity is only too eager to offer in India especially, of aborting the life she is carrying, doesn’t sound too different.

What wrong did that unborn child do to be prematurely killed when it is in the most dependent state of its life?3028478570_3efd46af8f

Justice K. Kannan who  is a former judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court  wrote an interesting article in the Hindu recently questioning the way abortion is fast being offered as a solution to myraid cases of pregnancy: The fundamental question is: what makes killing a human being wrong? We may then consider whether these characteristics, whatever they might be, apply to the earliest stages of human life in the womb. Explanations that have roots in religion include the traditional Christian doctrines such as that all humans are made in the image of God or that all humans have an immortal soul.

Apart from the point of view of health and avoidance of disability, with modern notions of individual liberty, many a pregnant woman believes that apart from her, no one else will have a right to decide about what she wishes to do with the foetus.

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It is also suggested that an alternative for parents faced with the decision to terminate their pregnancy is a perinatal hospice. A perinatal hospice recognizes the value of bringing these infants to term by treating them as beings conceived with a tangible future. This alternative is preferred because of post-termination psychological distress and because biblical teachings emphasise the dignity and worth of each foetus.

In response to this, a few well educated people from India including female Medical Doctors wrote about choice: [http://m.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/abortion-womens-rights-and-human-rights/article8969843.ece]

According to international human rights law, a person is vested with human rights only at birth; an unborn foetus is not an entity with human rights. The ethical issues here are not just of the rights of the foetus. The foetus is not an independent entity and depends completely on the welfare of the woman. Without her well-being, one cannot talk about the well-being of the foetus. We also need to consider the fact that the woman herself is a living human being in the here and now — the pregnancy takes place within her body and has profound effects on her health, mental well-being and life. Thus, how she wants to deal with this pregnancy must be a decision she and she alone can make.”

What even a school child understands is that there is life inside the bulging tummy of the pregnant woman.

The PCPTND act which forbids disclosure of the sex of the fetus in India, designed to thwart the warped sex ration in the country due to selective female foeticide over the ages, recognizes that there is life in the womb! Then what is the confusion?

I am reminded of a phrase: We have educated ourselves into imbecility. No wonder educated people can write such responses to the article written by Justice Kannan.

Perhaps this last image sums up my message:

choice

I would also like to add, the men who caused the pregnancy must learn to take responsibility for taking care of the outcome equally if not more.

I hope you would say Amen. Even if you do not, remember, the King who created you, and loves you, decides what is right and what is wrong, not me and not you. His Kingdom is advancing swiftly.

On which side would you be, my friend?

 

Yoga…the great if only….

If only Yoga lived up to even 1% of its claimed benefits, what a different nation India would have been….many tourists to India have often wondered. And for good reason, as you will discover.

But for now, here is something that will surely pique your curiosity!

United Nations General Assembly has declared 21st of June as an International Yoga Day on 11th of December in 2014.

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The declaration was done after the call by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to the United Nations General Assembly on 27th of September in 2014 during his address to the UN General Assembly. He called the United Nations General Assembly for adopting 21st of June as an International Yoga Day to get all the benefits of yoga for the people all around the world. [http://www.indiacelebrating.com/events/international-day-of-yoga/]

Narendra Modi has said during his address to the UN General Assembly that “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.

A look at India would make us wonder, how on earth does he have the guts to make such tall claims?

Restraint and fulfillment? Harmony between man and nature? Yoga has been practised for centuries in India. Where rivers are treated as dumping grounds for all sorts of garbage, sewage and even dead bodies. Where forests are being destroyed, mangroves reclaimed, the air and water polluted.

So what is this Yoga?

Derived from the Sanskrit word yuj, Yoga means union of the individual consciousness or soul with the Universal Consciousness or Spirit.

There are many more people making tall claims for Yoga.

A renowned Hindu Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, from India, says “Yoga is not just a physical exercise or asanas. Yoga is a complete science. It unites the body, mind, spirit and the universe. Yoga brings that much needed peace in every individual. It also makes a big difference in one’s behavior, thought pattern and attitude. I would say yoga is almost indispensible. If you want to be sane, sensitive, sensible, strong and intuitive you have to follow yoga.”

Now think of the state of the majority of the people in the world. Does he mean to say that they are not sane, sensitive, sensible, strong or intuitive?

Or let us take the other side of this.

What has Yoga done for India?

How many would look at India, the place where Yoga was founded, and say Indians have that much needed peace, and exemplary behaviour, thought patterns and attitudes?

India is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, and also considered backward in hygiene, health, equal rights to minorities, women and children, and even in sports. A mere look at the Olympic Medal tally of India will reveal what this so called Yoga has done to help Indians achieve superior physical strength, stamina or health.

So in terms of peace of mind, values, ethics, or in the more measurable physical health, yoga has not been of any use practically to the countless millions of Indians.

Then why is it being propagated?

That is a good question, that the Prime Minister and the present right wing Indian government should be answering.

I believe there are deeper spiritual reasons why Yoga is being propagated.

Yoga promotes the pantheistic world view that everything and everyone is god, and the aim of Yoga is union with this so-called force or god. Is this logically, scientifically and factually true? Ofcourse not! The Creator, whom we would call God, is not a force without any personality or feelings! He is a person, and that is why He made us humans in His image, and He shows us His love. A force or the god consciousness to which Yoga proponents would have you unite, it cannot and never will love you!

The Judaeo-Christian world view clearly states that God is the creator and everybody and everything else is created by Him and distinct from God. The very first temptation faced by humans [Genesis 2-3] was to be like God himself, the very same thing offered by Yoga. Of Course, God was displeased by this heresy and had to punish Adam and Eve, but He [out of His immense love for us] also made a way for us humans to be restored back to a relationship with Him, through repentance and faith in the finished work and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God who became a man to take on Himself the punishment due to us for our sins.

Yoga and its spiritual philosophy tries to deny that we humans are sinners, separated form the God who created us. This is nothing but the lie that satan used in the garden with our very first parents.

Another area of concern in yoga is the concept of emptying the mind, which is contradictory to what Christianity teaches. As Laurette explained, “We are transformed by the renewing of our minds, not the emptying.” Emptying the mind leaves it open to other spirits to take control of the person’s mind, and that is what often happens.

So please be wise before accepting anything. There can be dangers far worse that you could have imagined.

For more reading, please visit these sites:

http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2005/march/truth-about-yoga.html

http://www.praisemoves.com/ offers excellent and spiritually safe exercises without exposing you to mind emptying spiritual dangers.

http://caryl.tv/

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Don’t waste time, Doctors say

Heart attack to hospital takes 5 hours in Mumbai

Doctors To Try & Cut Down Time Taken In City [Adapted from a front page article dated May 25 2014 : The Times of India (Mumbai)]

With three million cases every year, heart attack may be the commonest grave ailment in India. But Indians seem to be dimly aware of its calling card—be it the sudden pain in the chest, upper back or jaw—and often don’t react appropriately. A shocking 95% of heart attack patients take public transport to reach hospital. And, many of them reach after six hours—or over 380 minutes—of the first symptoms, found an all-India study.

Cardiologist Dr Prafulla Kerkar, who heads KEM Hospital’s cardiology department, said barely 10% of heart

attack patients in the city reach the hospital within the golden hour. The golden hour is the crucial period in which medical treatment can prevent permanent damage to the heart’s muscles.

“A study among 350 of our heart attack patients showed that 10% reached the hospital 12 hours after the attack. By this time, the advantages of restoring blood flow are lost,” said Dr Kerkar. The majority of the patients took a median time of five hours, which is twice as long as it takes in the West.

It is to reduce this time lag between the appearance of symptoms and hospitalization that a handful of cardiologists have come together to form a not-forprofit organization called STEMI India.

Three years ago, STEMI India brought together doctors, hospitals and ambulance providers in Coimbatore and Chennai to spread awareness about heart attacks and ensure that patients got treated within the golden hour. They have succeeded in reducing the average symptom-to-hospitalization time to less than three hours or 170 minutes so far.

Next weekend, the STEMI India group of which Dr Kerkar is a member will hold its first training programme in Mumbai at Powai. “Over 800 doctors from Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh will attend it,” said course director Dr Rajesh Rajani, cardiologist from Hinduja Hospital, Mahim.

“The message is that the longer you take to report to a hospital after a heart attack, the higher the chance that you are left a cardiac cripple who may well need repeated hospitalizations later on,” added Dr Rajani. It is now well established that patients who are given immediate medical treatment–say, a blood thinner or clot buster–may not suffer any long-term effects of a heart attack.
Many hospitals and nursing homes in Mumbai, though, still don’t give a clot-buster to a patient who comes in with suspected heart attack, say doctors. “They refer the patient to a bigger hospital without even providing streptokinase injection that can dissolve blood clots that caused the heart attack,” said Dr Kerkar. Ashok Hospital is one of the few Hospitals that give this vital clot busting drug, and Dr. S. P. Mathew encourages other Hospitals around to do the same.




Drinking water or Sewage?

Civic body faces takeover if Ulhas River remains polluted

 

This is really shocking. Does the Municipality and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board [MPCB] have to be told to do this? Drinking water is a basic requirement for everybody. What is stopping them from destroying he life of millions of innocent people? I am glad that my friend and fellow activist Stalin Dayanand has taken up this vital issue through his NGO Vanashakti.

 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

14th May 2014 The Times of India

 

Figure 1 Untreated waste dumped into rivers


Mumbai: The Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC) was on Tuesday warned by the Pune bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that it will have to stop discharging untreated sewage and effluents into the drinking water source of Kalyan-Dombivli.
The tribunal gave three months to the municipal corporation to clean up its act, failing which “it would be constrained to direct the secretary, urban development department to exercise powers under the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act to control the corporation and deal with the problems of pollution in the area”.
NGO Vanshakti had filed an appeal before the NGT to restore the Ulhas river, which was seeing discharge of untreated effluents from MIDC industrial estates, seriously affecting the health of people in Ambernath, Badlapur, Ulhasnagar, Kalyan-Dombivli and elsewhere.

 

Figure 2 Criminal discharge of effluents into water bodies


The NGT observed that information provided by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board showed there was no sewage treatment plant (STP) provided by the Badlapur Municipal Council.
The NGT order read: “It also appears that Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation, has provided STP of very low capacity, which does not take care of sewage generated….”
The tribunal said in view of the submission by the MIDC that the process of laying pipelines in the sea-bed to discharge effluents would take time, it directed the UMC to divert Khemni nala to avoid discharge of sewage and effluent in the river or water bodies.

 


The Ulhas river sees discharge of untreated sewage and effluents

Pigeon menace, what to do?

PIGEON HELL

Mumbai runs for cover as an exploding population of pigeons, fed and fattened by easy availability of food, lays siege to the city. This was the headline in the Mumbai Mirror dated 20th April 2014 written by Virat Singh.

 

 

This is what I propose:

 

Figure 1 Pigeon Condo

A pigeon nesting condo from which their eggs can be safely harvested.

 

This was the article and also the feedback received from readers till today.

Virat A Singh | virat.singh@timesgroup.com TWEETS @ singhvirat246

Mulund homemaker Preeti Wadhwa, 27, recently spent Rs 15,000 to cover her apartment windows with specialised netting to block pigeons that had become a nuisance and a health hazard, dropping huge quantity of “infections spreading” excrement on windowsills.

“But the problem has not been solved. They now sit on the ledge above the windows,” she said. The Wadhwa family presents a side of a growing debate in Mumbai over the impact of pigeons, whose numbers have multiplied exponentially in the past two decades.
To bird-lovers, they are hardy survivors in a concrete city; many feel that caring for pigeons is their religious duty and, more importantly, a humane thing to do. But to thousands of households, corporations housed in gleaming high rises and health experts, they are pests that test our commitment to cleanliness and disease control.
And while authorities and bird conservation groups argue over a practical – and ethical – way to prevent pigeons from making homes, workplaces and city infrastructure look unsightly, no one denies that their numbers are growing far beyond normal, away from their natural habitat.
Experts say the originally cliffdwelling pigeons — descendants of the wild rock dove — adapted to life in cities several decades ago, but their numbers have never been this high. The grey birds are everywhere: on roofs, eaves, windowsills and power lines, and in ducts and vents.
As they have rapidly multiplied, so have incidences of respiratory problems among citizens, and the costs of cleaning and maintenance, including installation of nylon nets, the most common method to keep the birds away.
FINANCIAL BURDEN ON HOUSEHOLDS
A well-fed pigeon on an average dispenses up to 11.5 kg of droppings a year. It costs between Rs 8,000 to Rs 15,000 to install specialised nylon nets in a normal apartment and, depending on where you live, up to Rs 500 a month for one-time cleaning of balcony grilles.
So far, no comprehensive studies have been undertaken in Mumbai to establish a correlation between presence of pigeons near or in residential complexes and rising cases of respiratory infections, including lung complications.
But, a section of people living near some kabutarkhanas have started citing health concerns to pressure the BMC to relocate feeding areas away from their neighbourhoods. In March 2012, residents of Hingwala Lane in Ghatkopar (E) remonstrated with the BMC about feeding pigeons at a local kabutarkhana, saying the birds were causing serious health problems.
Such proposals, however, have faced stiff opposition from politicians and citizens who find the birds harmless and consider feeding them their religious duty.
After Hingwala Lane residents had raised the issue, MNS’s Ghatkopar MLA Ram Kadam warned them against pressing for the kabutarkhana’s relocation and instead, urged residents to continue feeding.
ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
Bird experts say this unregulated practice of feeding, especially at kabutarkhanas, is one of the main reasons for population explosion. The other being the absence of natural predators.
“Long back, cliffs and rock ledges were pigeons’ natural habitat. The birds adapted to living
alongside humans in cities,
where buildings provide them good nesting areas,” said ornithologist Mohammed Dilawar.
“The issue of their population arose when people started leaving grains and food for them. They no longer have to make an effort to find food, which has made them prolific breeders.”
Pigeons are known to return to the place where they are fed and, according to some studies, organise their day around feeding. They lay eggs around six times a year. According to naturalist Saurabh Sawant, more food is being made available to pigeons than they require. “They are actually being overfed. Their growing numbers have affected other bird species, especially sparrows, as they take over more space for nesting,” he said.
Dr Asad R Rahmani, director of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), who has been involved in bird conservation efforts for several years, said any bird species that multiples out of control would pose problems to cities and towns. “Apart from people’s generosity, pigeons have also benefited from the fact that there are no major predators in urban areas,” he said.
‘KABUTARKHAANAS FEATHERING THEIR OWN NEST’
There are half a dozen legal kabutarkhanas in Mumbai, but almost every area has four to five illegal ones. Ornithologist Dilawar said their owners were more interested in making profits than in ensuring birds’ well-being.
“It’s a commercial exploitation in the name of religious beliefs. If proper audits are done, the authorities will realise that kabutarkhanas earn crores every year,” he said. “Many of them are located close to tourist areas. The owners sell over-priced bird feed to tourists and locals, many of whom maintain monthly accounts.”
Also, currently anyone, even a grocer looking to make a quick buck, can start bird feeding in his/ her locality. There are hardly any rules that prevent people from doing so. Proponents of curbs on such practices say unregulated bird feeding increases pest menace: food meant for pigeons invariably attracts rats.
Citizens’ corporator from Colaba, Makrand Narvekar has been the lone councillor in the fight to shift bird feeding spots from congested neighbourhoods and major roads and seek restrictions on illegal ones.
He had moved a notice in the BMC for the same after a civic engineer died in an accident in July 2013. The engineer, who was riding a motorcycle, was thrown off the vehicle after being hit by a flock of pigeons near a kabutarkhana in Grant Road.
“I have received several representations from people who live close to such spots. They are very concerned about their health,” he said. “Kabutarkhanas came upduring a time when the city was not so congested and there were hardly any high rises. They no longer fit in urban areas.”
The BMC is yet to respond to his proposal to relocate bird feeding centres.
It’s not just Mumbai that is grappling with the issue. Major cities in the West have also faced the problem. Trafalgar Square in London was once famous for its feral pigeons and feeding them was a popular activity among visitors. However, their droppings caused damage to the square’s stonework and were termed a health hazard.
The sale of bird feed was stopped in 2001 and steps were taken to reduce the number of pigeons there.
In 2008, Venice introduced fines for sale of grain to feed birds at St Mark’s Square. Pigeons were eating away at marble statues by pecking at small gaps in a bid to reach for food. Communities in New York and Los Angeles have also tried to control the pigeon population, but faced opposition.
REGULATING THE HANDS THAT FEED
Dr Rahmani called for a crackdown on illegal feeding centres. “The BMC should ensure that unauthorised kabutarkhaanas are shut and new ones are not allowed to open. People should also be discouraged from feeding pigeons in public places,” he said, adding that it was the only way to prevent overfeeding.
Other experts feel that the city needs a comprehensive plan to control the pigeon population, but they stressed that the birds should be not harmed in the process. To begin with, there should be an awareness programme for citizens.
“People think that they are doing a good deed by feeding pigeons, but in reality they are contributing to an imbalance among different bird species, harming the ecology,” Dilawar said.
ARE THERE REAL HEALTH RISKS?
The humble pigeon and its poop have been linked to dozens of diseases in the West, but so far the most common cases in the city have been that of respiratory problems. Fresh droppings don’t pose a risk, but spores from dried-out excrement, when inhaled, can cause respiratory complications and a flu-like illness.
“Often, I get patients who suffer from lung inflation, cough and fever. Many of them said that there were several pigeons in their buildings. It’s possible that there was transmission of infection from the birds,” said Dr Om Shrivastav, director of Jaslok Hospital’s department of infectious diseases.
Psittacosis is an infection caused by Chlamydophila psittaci, a type of bacteria found in bird droppings. “People who have a history of asthma or bronchitis should avoid staying in places where there are too many birds,” Dr Shrivastav said.
RESIDENTS IN A FLAP
While doctors try to identify a link between growing respiratory cases and pigeons, residents are trying a host of measures to keep them away. “We had a simple net earlier, but pigeons would peck at it and over time, they displaced the wooden frame. We then spent over Rs 15,000 to get nylon netting,” said Mulund homemaker Preeti Wadhwa said. “But now there’s a different issue. Pigeons’ feathers and droppings land on the nets, which are harder to clean.”
    Residents of Prithvi Palace on Dahisar Link Road have grown bougainvillea to prevent the birds from taking refuge in cavities near pipelines. “The climbing plant has thorns, so pigeons stay away,” said horticulturist Anjali Nariman, who lives in the complex.
    Anushree Mittal Yadav, a media executive from Bhandup, tried hanging CDs in balconies, hoping the sunlight reflected from the discs will keep the creatures away. “It worked for sometime before the birds started making nests in the balconies all over again,” she said.
Ashwin Nair, who lives in a rented apartment in Mulund, said that the windowsills in his house were shrouded with droppings. “I get the area cleaned, and the next day, it’s filthy again. Also, once the birds lay eggs, one does not feel like removing the nests,” he said.
A Malad homemaker said that it was frustrating to see pigeons ruining her 12th-floor balcony day in day out. “I don’t believe in harming the birds, but there has to be a way to control their population,” she said.
FEARS GIVE RISE TO A THRIVING BIZ
People’s distrust and disgust of the pigeon and its dung have given rise of businesses that offer to make houses “bird-proof”. “There is a huge demand for bird-proof nets in residential towers,” said Sanjay Chavan, who runs one such firm.
‘IT’S JUST PIGEON PARANOIA’
But there are thousands of citizens in Mumbai who object to such measures. “I have been feeding them for years near my house. I see no health or any other risk in doing so. They are harmless creatures who need our attention and care,” said Borivali businessman Nirav Jain, 45. “What about rats? What is the city doing to prevent problems created by them?”
Jain added that rising pollution, caused by vehicular fumes and construction activity, was the more likely cause of increasing respiratory cases.

 


 

 


 


Mulund homemaker Preeti Wadhwa, 27, spent Rs 15,000 to bird-proof her home. But maintaining cleanliness is still an issue as pigeon feathers and droppings get stuck on nylon net

 


 


 


Anjali Nariman of Prithvi Palace in Dahisar and other residents have grown bougainvillea to prevent pigeons from taking refuge in cavities near pipelines

 

The horror, the horror

Readers share their pigeon nightmares in response to our front-page report on Saturday


The pigeon menace begins at 5.30 am
I FELT LIKE 
I was reading my story. I face such problems every day in my first-floor Kharghar flat, which has a terrace occupied by pigeons. Despite putting up a net, the birds still manage to enter the terrace area. They sit near the air-conditioner and constantly hit the window panes. The noise wakes me up at 5.30 am and the maid spends more than 30 minutes every day cleaning the dirt that enters our home because of them.
As a working professional, it becomes difficult to keep the birds away. I am also aware of the health hazards mentioned in the article. Hopefully, stories like this will prevent people from feeding these birds every day.
— Nidhi Gulatee,
Kharghar They took over our kitchen
A NUMBER OF 
shopkeepers have a habit of feeding pigeons near our home. Although my mother would shoo them away, the pigeons would keep returning and settle near the kitchen window when my mother was not around.
Before my mother realised what was going on, the pigeons built a nest and laid some eggs there. There was a foul smell that dominated our kitchen. It finally took a toll on my mother, who ended up with such a bad allergy that she was unable to enter the kitchen.
Once the eggs hatched and the pigeons left, we cleaned the place and installed nylon nets so that pigeons could not enter. Despite the barricades, the birds still try to fly into our kitchen.
— Arpita Markande,
Mumbai
They destroy my plants
PIGEONS DESTROYED MY 
new plants. I love gardening and often used to buy plants, but have stopped doing so now.
The pigeons also leave droppings on washed clothes and enter my house whenever they get a chance. They also find it easy to build nests on our windowsills because we live on higher floors.
I wish the BMC would do something to curb this menace.
— Disha Kunder,
Mumbai
Pigeons damage our vehicles
THE CARS PARKED 
in our Prabhadevi society are covered with pigeon droppings every morning. It is difficult to take our cars out because of this. People living in chawls constantly feed the pigeons, which is why they haven’t left the area. Something needs to be done to curb this menace.
— Shradha Agarwalla,
Prabhadevi Pigeons carry fungal diseases
MUMBAI MIRROR’S ARTICLE 
serves as an eye-opener to those unaware of the perils of feeding pigeons. They cause skin diseases, which are contagious. They also cause a number of respiratory problems. We attribute many problems to pollen allergies, but pigeons are a bigger problem as they spread a number of fungal diseases that cause difficulties in breathing. What people fail to understand is that the spores of the fungi breed in pigeon droppings and spread diseases.
Recently, my husband’s friend died after suffering in the ICU for over a month. It was found that he had been exposed to a fungal infection by way of pigeon droppings as the birds would be perched on his window all the time.
Now that we know the dangers of pigeon breeding, we must shut down the kabutarkhanas to curb their population.
— Suresh Kala, Chembur Hazard for bikers and children
WE HAVE FACED 
a pigeon problem for the past two years. There was a shopkeeper who would feed pigeons, which increased their population. There are hundreds of them on the main road, which is a big hazard for motorcyclists. Even pedestrians are not spared. Our society is overrun by pigeons, even around the swimming pool. This is a serious health hazard.
— Bina Pillai,     Deonar


They made my five-year-old ill
MY FIRST BAD 
experience with pigeons was when my child was five and ended up with wheezing and breathlessness because of them. The paediatrician’s first question about our home was its proximity to pigeons. From then on, his windows were shut and the curtains and sheets rinsed every day. We moved to New Delhi when he was 10 and he never had any trouble there.
But when we moved back to Mumbai in 2006, the problems returned. We have lived in Santacruz and now in Ghatkopar and both places are infested with pigeons. We have finally installed nets to prevent the birds from flying in. Hopefully it will be a foolproof solution.
— Cheryll Pereira,     Ghatkopar


Keep them away from traffic
MOST KABOOTARKHANAS 
are on the footpath or in the middle of a junction, and pose a risk to motorists and pedestrians. Two wheelers are more prone to accidents thanks to them.
While I am not against people feeding the birds, we need to ensure that they are fed in a place that is free from traffic and not a residential area.
— Kamal Kapadia, Tardeo

 


 


We have become prisoners at home 
THERE ARE TWO pigeons that are regulars outside my front door. Because of them my parents and I feel like we’re in jail as we can never open the front door when the birds are around. The pigeons have already created a mess in the lobby area.
The nuisance has increased and we have no idea what to do. It’s impossible to keep the door shut all the time. I am planning to install a transparent net in the balcony and on every window to curn this nuisance.
— Ameya Naik,  Walkeshwar

 


Droppings and feathers
OUR MIRA ROAD 
society has a huge pigeon population, which has resulted in major hygiene issues thanks to their droppings and feathers, which seem to be everywhere.
— Wasim, Mira Road

 


Menace, despite nets 
DESPITE INSTALLING NETS everywhere to keep them out, on average, one pigeon gets trapped inside my house every month. This menace also costs me Rs 5,000 every month as the roof of my AC compressor has to be cleaned every alternate day because of pigeon droppings. Others in my building have also installed nets, but the birds keep returning.
— Jinesh Hingu, Parel