Air Pollution as Harmful as Cigarette Smoke: Doctors Association

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Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, JakartaThe head of the Indonesian Lung Doctors Association (PDPI), Agus Dwi Susanto, said that air pollution emitted from motorized vehicles is as dangerous as cigarette smoke. Both could cause cancer.

    Agus explained four percent of people suffering from lung cancer in Jakarta caused by air pollution. “Eighty-six percent of lung cancer is linked to cigarette and four percent to air pollution,” said Agus during a conference press in the PDPI office, Cipinang, Wednesday, July 31.

    The low rate, he added, was attributed to various preventive measures, such as refrain from doing an outdoor activity or using a face mask. Besides, the exposure level is still behind cigarette smoke.

    “If the pollution rate in Jakarta is similar to tobacco smoke, our eyes will likely sore instantly when we go outside,” Agus explained.

    On Monday, July 29, air forecaster AirVisual again tapped the Indonesian capital as the global worst polluted city as it scored an air quality index (AQI) of 188 that means unhealthy. Earlier in June, the score was recorded at 206.

    The severe air pollution, Agus went on, could not instantly cause lung cancer considering the damaged cell was formed by years of accumulation of pollutant particles in the lung.

    The number of people with lung cancer in the city gradually increased over the years. In 2010, there were only 581 people, yet in 2018 reached up to 2,458 people. The hike was attributable to the rising number of active and passive smokers as well as air pollution rate.

    M JULNIS FIRMANSYAH