Air and water pollution, adulterated food, unplanned waste management, thick black smoke emitted from brick kilns, industries and transports are causing serious non communicable diseases across the country, experts said.
They came up with the remark at a national dissemination programme titled ‘Multisectoral Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases 2019-2025’ held at Hotel InterContinental in the city on Wednesday. Health Service Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Non-communicable Diseases Control Programme, Directorate General of Health Service and World Health Organisation jointly organised the programme.
The experts emphasised greater awareness among the people to prevent the spread of cardiac, stroke cancer and mental diseases as the deadly diseases are increasing fast in the country due to air and water pollution, adulterated food and unplanned waste management.
At least 70 percent people die in the country due to non-communicable diseases across the country, they said. They mentioned that of them 22 percent die in premature stage. No comprehensive research has been done so far in Bangladesh revealing the real effects of adulterated food on public health.
Currently, there are three million cancer patients in Bangladesh and additional 7 lakhs are added every year. A vast majority of these cancer patients are believed to have developed cancer from such adulterated food, experts said. Many experts, who are closely associated with diagnosing cancer patients, expressed concerns at the rising levels of adulteration of food.
Consuming antibiotics with milk should have the same effect on health as consuming it with farm fishes, they said. These heavy metals of antibiotics are not mixed directly with the products rather these harmful substances are used to make animal food, medicinal purpose and fatten the animals, they said.
In many cases, these antibiotics and heavy metals are used beyond the prescribed level. Experts said these harmful substances are ultimately finding their way to human bodies through fish, meat, milk and other food items. This is such an overwhelming phenomenon that it should be declared as national crisis or epidemic.
The speakers said least 5 lakh tonnes of plastic waste are being dumped into water bodies and huge amount of factory wastage also dumped into the rivers. While the fishes consume micro-plastic, those are entering into human food chain. They said, nearly half of the population of the country is suffering from these three diseases — a major reason behind such high numbers is adulterated food.
Commenting on the major effects of harmful elements, Zubair Abdullah, a cancer specialist said, “There are around 25 lakh cancer patients now in Bangladesh with two lakh new patients being affected by the disease every year,”