Number of infants with asthma rises in Prague

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asthmaPrague, Jan 6 (CTK) - The number of children suffering from asthma and other respiratory disease has been on the rise in the one million Prague as the number of cars and lorries in the city increases and the air is polluted with dust, daily Pravo writes today.

Pediatricians told the daily that the situation in the city is serious and that it has been worse and worse every year.

"For instance, younger children fall ill and the number of children suffering from asthma is rising. Babies and infants under half a year of age are not an exception," Pravo quotes pediatrician Ivana Nulickova who has a surgery in the city centre as saying.

"Already at the age of around half a year, children catch the first infectious diseases, whistling in the lungs can be heard. The babies are also ill for a longer time - they cough for up to three weeks. Eczema is more frequent. Every second suckling infant has it now," Nulickova said.

Large as well as fine dust particles from exhaust fumes are the largest problem affecting the health of the capital´s inhabitants, Pravo writes.

"They are the more so dangerous that chemical substances, such as heavy metals, aromatic hydrocarbons and other substances that are dangerous to human health combine with them," Pravo quotes Miroslav Suta, a physician and toxic substances expert from the Society for Permanently Sustainable Life, as saying.

Practically the whole of Prague, with the exception of certain parts on the edge, is hit with air dust, the paper writes.

It reminds that according to a recent European study, 8,000 to 10,000 Czechs die prematurely in consequence of air pollution.

Czech experts criticised this week the Prague City Town Hall´s programme of decreasing emissions through building further roads at a cost of some 100 billion crowns.

"It is most probable that the massive construction of roads and ring roads will bring further cars and lorries into the city," Vojtech Kotecky from the Friends of the Earth environment organisation told Pravo.

He said that the situation could be solved if a toll in the city centre like in London were introduced, more investment in quick, comfortable and cheap public transport were made, and good and safe cycling paths were built.

Prague town assemblywoman Eva Tylova (Green Party) said that the quickly growing car transport is responsible for the unfavourable situation in Prague and other cities.

On the other hand, emissions from industrial sources, such as heating plants, have been reduced already. The situation is also more favourable in that many people heat up their homes with fuels that are more friendly to the air.

One of measures to improve the air in Prague would be to build more green areas, including planting of deciduous trees and bushes, Pravo writes.

source CTK