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Public Health Programs

Lung Health Camp for Waste Pickers in Bhalswa Village

30th March & 1st April 2018

Inception of the project

The Lung Health check-up camp was organized for the people residing in Bhalswa region who are more exposed to toxic fumes originating from the nearby Bhalswa Landfill. While the yearly average AQI levels in Delhi ranges between 250 and 300 which is way above the WHO standards, the air around the landfill is 30-40 times more polluted than the average AQI in Delhi. Since the domestic and industrial waste produced in Delhi is not segregated, the organic and inorganic waste are mixed together and dumped in the landfill. These dump sites often tend to catch fire especially in the summer when the maximum temperature in Delhi ranges from 45-49 degrees Celsius. Since the waste dumped at the landfill site is not segregated, many synthetic materials like plastics, rubber etc also get burnt in these landfill sites leading to high toxicity of the air surrounding these areas.

The local population primarily consists of migrants mainly from Bihar, UP & Bengal. The main occupation of these people is to pick recyclable waste from the MCD dumping ground nearby (Bhalswa Landfill). These waste pickers then sell it to the kabadiwalas of the locality to earn a daily income of about Rs. 200-300. These people work at the site of landfill for more than 6-8 hrs a day without using any protective apparatus like gloves, boots, etc. Over the years many have succumbed to the diseases contracted due to polluted environment they have been living in.

Lung Health Camp for Waste Pickers in Bhalswa Village is a sincere attempt to bridge the gap between the waste pickers who suffer from constant threat to their health due their living circumstances and a good quality affordable healthcare system. We sincerely thank DCM Shriram Industries Ltd. for supporting this camp and would also like to thank Chintan and their association of Safai Sena Workers who mobilized and assisted the entire Bhalswa Waste Pickers Community to access this opportunity.

Objectives of the screening program

  • Conduct a brief awareness program about their vulnerability towards Lung and respiratory illnesses
  • Inform about practices they can follow for prevention and early detection of lung diseases
  • Conduct pulmonary function test (PFT) and chest X-rays for early diagnosis of Lung Problem and analyse the data as part of the research study
  • Use the research data for advocacy and policy change for waste pickers rehabilitation from Landfill sites (facilitated by Chintan – Environmental Research and Action Group)
  • Post evaluation guidance for getting treatment for chronic/serious diseases

All people enrolled for the camp underwent the following evaluation procedures

  • Registration
  • Medical History
  • Medical Examination
  • Pulmonary Function Test (PFT)
  • X-Ray
  • Final Review of all the findings by Dr. Arvind Kumar
  • Closing

Total number of people registered for the camp

  • Day 1 (30th March 2018): 96
  • Day 2 (1st April 2018): 127

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