APD Reveals Impact of Air Pollution on City Auto-Rickshaw Drivers

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APD Reveals Impact of Air Pollution on City Auto-Rickshaw Drivers

How does Air Pollution Affect Us? APD (Anti Pollution Drive) Foundation’s latest study report reveals impact of Air Pollution on health of Auto Rickshaw Drivers of Mangaluru.

Mangaluru: Anti Pollution Drive (APD) Foundation has successfully concluded its second edition of Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) on outdoor workers of Mangaluru, with an exclusive focus on auto rickshaw drivers of the city. It may be recalled that the first edition focused on traffic police personnel of Mangaluru and Bengaluru and the study report was published last year. The foundation had also commissioned a separate Air Quality Assessment Study called ‘Shudda Gaali’ to supplement this initiative and gain a holistic understanding of a phenomenon. Data mining for ‘Shudda Gaali’ was done in December last year and a detailed analytical report was released earlier this year. This is part of APD’s continuous quest to gather scientific data on the impact of pollution on civil society and explore ways to mitigate it.

Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Abdullah A. Rehman, Founder of APD Foundation said, “The present study of the impact of air pollution on auto rickshaw drivers was undertaken in the month of April and the analytical report is now ready. A sample of 510 auto drivers was selected from 15 auto rickshaw stands in the city. After isolating the smokers, the sample size was reduced to 405. Among these 314 drivers had normal lung functioning. 77 (19%) exhibited restrictive lung functioning and 14 (3.46%) exhibited obstructive lung functioning. This data clearly shows that around 1/5th of the total sample population has been adversely effected by air pollution. It must be remembered here that auto rickshaws are the biggest vehicular air pollutants along with city buses and other public transport vehicles. “Comprehensive preventive measures are urgently needed in this segment of road users to reduce the further impact of pollution on the citizens”.

The study report was released on 11 August 2017 by Ivan D’souza, MLC; Chief Whip of Karnataka State Assembly; and who is also the President of Auto Rickshaw Owners’ and Drivers’ Association and the report was released at the MACO fuel station at Balmatta in the presence of many auto rickshaw drivers. Speaking on the occasion, Ivan D’souza had expressed his appreciation of APD’s efforts in this addressing public health issues. The report will now be forwarded to all government and non-government agencies concerned with the issue.


The study on “Assessing the Impact of ‘Air Pollutants’ on the Health of Auto-rickshaw Drivers, Mangaluru” was assigned by APD Foundation as a “Social Immersion Project” (SIP) to a group of MBA students belonging to IFIM Business School, Bengaluru. The study team comprised of Ajay Ballal, Imad Ul Huq Kola, Poornima Yadav, Priya Cutinho, Rohan Bhaskar Shetty, Shodhan Shetty and Vishwaroop Shetty. To overcome the language barrier, majority of the team members were of Mangalore-Udupi origin and they were familiar with the local lifestyle.

The study was conducted under the guidance of their professor-mentors Dr. Githa Hegde, Dr. Samir Ranjan and Dr. R. Satish Kumar towards partial fulfillment of the award of the Post-Graduate Diploma in Management during the academic year 2016–2018. All professor-mentors were PhD scholars. The medical analysis and technical supervision of sample collection was done by eminent pulmonologist Dr. Don Gregory Mascarenhas of Father Muller’s Hospital. The required equipment and technicians were coordinated by Sujith of Lupin Pharmaceuticals.


As far as air pollution is concerned, the most vulnerable segments are outdoor workers such as Traffic Police, Auto/Bus/Taxi Drivers, Street Vendors, Street Sweepers and Construction workers, children under age 14 (whose lungs are still developing), individuals with heart disease, individuals with lung disease, pregnant women and those engaging in outdoor recreational activities (jogging and walking outdoors).

The aim of the project was to: Conduct health tests like the PFT (pulmonary function test) to capture the actual impact and to collect relevant data through survey; Develop new health impact indicators with focus on the affected patients and reporting to the assigned authority to take the potential action; Provide guidelines to the samples as well as to the health professionals on helping patients to reduce the exposure to air pollution; Evaluate strategies designed to reduce air pollution.


The Components of the project include the following modules: Assessing the perception of Air Pollution through a manual survey; Conducting the Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) to assess actual health impact on lungs and identify most affected individuals; Identification of the sources of pollution and the levels – including site study, monitoring using sensors, etc. so that solution possibilities for mitigating air pollution would emerge.


A sample of 510 auto drivers was selected from the highlighted locations. The locations were chosen based on the concentration of the autos in the stands : Father’s Muller; Bunts Hostel; Lady Hill Circle; Urwa Store; KMC Attavar; KSRTC Bus Stand; Bejai Circle; PVS Circle; Hampankatta Signal; Nanthoor; Central Railway Station; Yeyyadi Junction; Sri Krishna Bhavan; Kankanady Railway station; and Kottara Chowki


Data presented in the figure states that the majority of auto rickshaw drivers have an average driving experience of 10 to 15 years; Data presented in the figure states that the majority of auto rickshaw drivers do not have a smoking habit. The number of non-smokers in the sample are 372 (73%); The study reflects the concentration of samples for respiratory ailments. The two most common ailments faced are cough and breathlessness (37 out of 510); From the sample size of 405, we found 314 patients exhibiting normal lung functioning. 77 (19%) patients exhibited restrictive lung functioning and 14 (3.46%) exhibited obstructive lung functioning; This data clearly shows that around 1/5th of the total sample population has been adversely effected by air pollution. To reduce the further impact of the pollution on the affected and as a precautionary measure for others it is better to take up preventive action.


The study proposed the following solutions to be considered to reduce the adverse health impact, like: Use of Air Pollution Masks; Installation of Air Purifiers; Conversion to closed compartment vehicle design; Switch over to Four-stroke / CNG / Electric Vehicles; Ban on two-stroke engines and smoke emitting vehicles; Provision of water supply at rickshaw stands; Strict enforcement of Section 190(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 & Rule 115 /116 of Central Motor Vehicle Rule 1989s in order to encourage better maintenance of vehicles.

For further details contact: Founder of APD Foundation- Abdullah A. Rehman 9740000008

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