Medicine, Science & Technology

A Study on the level of Indoor Air-Pollution and its effects on the health of Women and Children in the Tribal Hamlets of Kerala, India.

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In majority of the developing countries, biomass is regarded as main source of household fuel energy. Ineffective combustion of biomass basically due to lack of effective processing and drying resulted in an increase in the indoor air pollution
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  A Study on the level of Indoor Air-Pollution and its effects on the healthof Women and Children in the Tribal Hamlets of Kerala, India. r. Shyamlal !.S. Faculty Member  ICFAI National College, Kochi, Kerala.  Keywords: Oxidation, Indoor Air ollution, Anthro!ometrics, Malnutrition, "ody Mass Index, "iomass Fuels, Acute #es!iratory In$ections %mo&eless Chullas. A"ST#ACT In majority of the developing countries, biomass is regarded as main source of household fuel energy. Ineffective combustion of biomass basically due to lack of effective processing and drying resulted in an increase in the indoor air pollution (IAP).The smoke from biomass fuels is a comple miture of aerosols, !hich containsignificant amounts of carbon monoide, suspended particulate matter and hydrocarbons.The groups !hich are adversely affected by this are !omen and children even in tribalcommunities !ho lead a life respecting the rules and regulations of nature. It issurprising to note that fires in traditional stoves and the smoke associated !ith them oftenhave considerable practical value in the tribal hamlets. It is considered as a tool for insectcontrol, !hich had various scientific justifications as !ell. The smoke generated fromthese traditional stoves is even used for drying the collected !ood and also the fresh palmleaves !ith !hich the house is thatched. As a result of these ecessive eposure, had itsadverse effects on the nutritional status of !omen. "sing #$I $   %&.' as the criteria for hronic nergy *eficiency (*) + percent of the !omen in the tribal hamlets !erefound to be suffering from various degrees of *, !hich in turn has its impact on childsurvival.   The study is of the vie! that intervention strategies can be successful only if ittakes into consideration the correlation bet!een poverty and fuel pollutants.  Introduction Indoor pollution can be traced right from the prehistoric time, !hen man started tolead a settled life either inside caves or ne!ly constructed shelters made out of thatchedroofs. -ire became an indispensable element in life for cooking, keeping him !arm andeven as a protection from animals. As per the estimates available, / of the ruralhouseholds still follo! the traditional !ay of cooking !ith the help of unprocessed biomass fuels in the form of !ood, dung and crop residues. As a result of this, !omen!ho are responsible for cooking and her children are more eposed to these poisonousfumes. Though the proportion of global energy derived from biomass fuels fell from '/in % to around %0/ in 1 yet it is surprising to notice that there usage has increasedamong the poor (  Nigel et.al, 2000  )  i . 2ne of important reason cited by various researchstudies is poverty, !hich acts as the barrier to!ards the adoption of cleaner fuels.$oreover the slo! pace of development ensure that it !ill take a longer span of time till be all the households can depend on cleaner fuels for their cooking purpose. 3ot!ithstanding the significance of eposure to indoor air pollution and the increasedrisk of Acute 4espiratory Infections (A4I) in childhood, chronic obstructive pulmonarydisease and lung cancer, and the health effects have been some!hat neglected by thesocial researchers and policy makers. #evie% of &iterature -rom the revie! of literature, it can be observed that majority of the researchstudies had opined that the eposure of indoor pollution, and especially to particulatematter, from combustion of biomass fuels has been !idely associated !ith the incidenceof acute respiratory infections (A4I) and eye infections (  Hazeltine and Bull, 2003 )  ii . Theadverse effects of indoor pollution is more prone in developing countries and isconsidered as a public health ha5ard especially among !omen and children(  Joshi, 2006  )  iii . The etensive list of indoor pollutants includes numerous ehaustvapours, particulate matter, gases, organic chemicals, spores, allergens, micro6organismsand various other substances. The ambient indoor atmosphere is further aggravated by the burning of biomass for cooking purposes. These ecessive uses of biomass can add to the   burden of industrial pollution and can affect human !ell6being even in non6urban areas( Capistrano, 2005 )  iv . It is also pointed out that the levels of pollutants vary dramatically by location and over time, depending on changing meteorological factors such as !indspeed and !ind direction !hich makes it difficult to analyse the health effects of individual pollutants (  Kjellstrom et.al, 2002 )  v . In the developing country like India, it isopined that the indoor combustion of biomass fuels accounts for 0.' per cent of thenational burden of disease and over .7 million deaths are attributable to solid fuel use(  Jindal .K, 200!  )  vi . 'b(ectives The study tries to analyse the etent of indoor pollution in the tribal hamlets of Trivandrum district and its effects on the nutritional status of !omen and children. Study Area 8erala is geographically divided into three 9 lo!land, midland and the highland.The study area is limited among the tribal communities in Trivandrum district of 8erala.The tribal population is considered as the guardian of nature !ho leads a content lifegiving due respect to the forces of nature. Traditional stoves are considered as the most popular one in these areas. :tudies had sho!n that the efficiency levels range bet!een' 9 % /. These stoves are considered as the most poisonous one due to the incompletecombustion of biomass fuels. )i*ure - +.+Satellite a of Study Area.Source  Terraetrics and /uroa Technolo*ies  ethodolo*y -ifty households lying in the reserve forest area of Trivandrum district is selectedfor the study. The study used both primary and secondary data sources for the study. Thesecondary data provided by :redha, an 3;2 !hich is involved in pollution studies !asused for analysing the etent of indoor pollution. #ody $ass Inde (#$I) is a simple butobjective anthropometric indicator of the nutritional status. The #elgian :tatisticianAdolphe <uetelet developed the formula for #$I in the %th century= 0 12,etersin3Hei*ht 4 Kilo*rams2in3Wei*ht Inde5,ass"ody  = 2ver the years nutritionists have developed more refined !ays to interpret #$Ivalues. 3o!, different #$I values can convey !hether a person is under!eight, ideal!eight, slightly over!eight or obese. The table belo! is the most complete one used for the analysis of #$I. 'able ( ).) #eference Table of "I6alue of "IStatus of 7utrition 0. 9 0'*angerous :tate07. 9 02bese0 9 1'$aimum >imit1' 9 %&.'3ormal%&.' 9 %?;rade I $alnutrition%? 9 %+;rade II $alnutrition>ess than %+;rade III $alnutrition )indin*s  Kani""ar  , popularly kno!n as  Kani are found in the  #gast$ar"utam  peaks of @estern ;hats and the other high ranges in Trivandrum. They are short in stature and bro!n to black compleion. The head is long, forehead receding and the bro! ridges prominent. The language spoken by the kannis ehibits features of $alayalam and Tamiland the 8annis call it as  %alampasha , !hich means language of the BillsC. In certaincases, the houses !ere constructed close to each other and !hile in others, they arescattered. #amboo and reed are the chief building materials used for construction. The plinth is slightly raised, and the floor generally rectangular. A long open veranda in the  front is a special feature. The main room may be portioned into t!o or three chambers.>ike any other tribe, they are also engaged in the collection of $inor -orest Produce. #utno! one can !itness houses constructed of mud and brick !ith tiled, asbestos or terracedroofing. This trend had further intensified !ith the Peoples Plan ampaign under !hichthe panchayat started the liberalised distribution of funds for construction of houses. The mean age of the respondents selected for the study is 0%.%7, !hich means that!e !ere able to get information from a matured group. Though the tribal community issaid to be a close6knit family yet !e !ere able to notice that there !ere a si5eable group!ho had adopted the nuclear family system. Thus !e can concluded that the nuclear family system, !hich is one of the basic feature of the modern life had started makinginroads even into the tightly knit tribal communities. -rom this study, !e observed thatthe tribal communities are educationally back!ard. It !as found out that a higher number of tribal communities had got basic education !hile the numbers d!indled as !e goup!ard. $ajority of the population surveyed had an educational status ranging bet!eenmiddle and high school. $oreover, !ith respect to the general situation prevailing in8erala, here too the !omen folks are more educated than the men. 'able ( ).* etails re*ardin* main source of /mloymentTye of /mloyment7o. of #esondents  $ - P17Agriculture"nskilled >abour?Income is an important determinant in assessing the status of the households.Information on annual income of the tribal households !as collected during the study.The study observed that majority of the population belonged to the income group of lessthan 4s ', !hich is less than sufficient to sustain a family of four persons. In thesehouseholds only the husband is the sole bread!inner, !hereas other families !here boththe husband and !ife are employed, they !ere able to have a monthly income some!here bet!een ' 9 %. In this study, !e also tried to gauge the etent of occupationaldiversification in the tribal hamlets. It !as found out that about 11 percent of thehouseholds reported only one occupation as their major bread!inner, !hile ?& percent of the households had more than one source of income i.e., they had a main and a subsidiary

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