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Increase in Coal Dust Putting Children’s Health at Stake

Author: Hamna Bano
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The coal dust in the areas of Duki is putting the children’s health at stake. Respiratory diseases and chest infections are on the rise.

Duki, the capital of Balochistan province and a mineral-rich district is suffering from serious health concerns for the children. The coal dust in the district is making the children of coal miners in Balochistan pay the price of their parent’s occupation.

Lying 230km away from Quetta the families in Duki call the coalfields their home. Despite the serious health threats to their children by the dust emissions from coal mining, they are willing to stay.

 

The spread of respiratory diseases and asthma is increasing in children living near coal mining sites. According to the healthcare workers, the children there are suffering from chest infections and breathing problems due to the inhaled coal dust.

Danish Rashdi the program head of the International Union of Conservation of Nature said, “For the time being, it seems, our reliance on coal power plants will continue till the private sector takes on the mission of decarbonization and starts compensating for the impacts of coal, and finally moving towards clean energy in the long run.”

Muhammad Azeem a facilitator of treatment in Duki added that “ most of the coal miners suffer from TB, which spreads to other family members as it is a bacterial infection.”

Azeem explained,  “most of the patients are minors. Poverty, poor hygienic living conditions and little access to health facilities are contributing factors to the spread of TB in the area.”

A total number of seventy to eighty patients are being examined on a daily basis at the hospital’s OPD. And a total of 30 children out of forty are suffering from chest infections. Allergies and asthma. Another more common disease in coal miners' children is back lung disease.

Pakistan’s dependence on coal power plants will stay on trend till the private sectors decide to move towards clean energy alternatives.