Demand for oxygen has shown an upward trend in the city during the Eidul Fitr holidays.
Sources said that demand for oxygen had jumped from 30 to 40 per cent during the holidays as a result of growing fears of shortage of the gas. Citizens piled oxygen cylinders for their relatives for any possible emergency situation.
A pulmonary medicine professor said that a human body needs about six milliliters of oxygen per minute, which amounts to about eight to nine litres of oxygen a day.
Although oxygen is naturally present in the air, some pulmonary diseases like Covid-19 affect the lungs, making it difficult for patients to naturally swap oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Thus they are then required to receive artificial oxygen, the cost of which can be exuberant.
“The cost of artificial oxygen if given 24/7 to the patient is around Rs5000 a day,” he told the media.
According to an oxygen cylinder supplier in the city , oxygen cylinder is currently available for anywhere between Rs1, 200 to Rs1, 500 in the market and offers 24 to 27 hours of continuous usage.
“There are some 70 oxygen suppliers in Karachi. And although there is no concrete evidence so far, there are alleged reports of some such dealers being involved in black-marketing of the gas, which is likely to further surge the prices,” he added.
Meanwhile, an expert clarified that there is no oxygen shortage in the city at the moment.
He added that some 60 per cent of the 750 metric tonnes of oxygen produced daily, is being uninterruptedly supplied to all hospitals.
He said that 750 metric tonnes of oxygen is produced daily in the country, from which 350 metric tonnes is produced in Karachi and a similar production comes from Punjab.
While about eight metric tons of oxygen is being produced in Balochistan. “Altogether, six plants are being set up in the private sector in Karachi, six in Punjab and two in Balochistan for oxygen production,” he added.
Due to the third wave of Covid-19, 60 per cent of the oxygen produced in the private sector is being supplied to hospitals across the country, while the rest is still being supplied to industrial establishments.
In case of any possible emergency due to Covid-19, the supply of oxygen to the industrial sector will be temporarily suspended and all supply will be redirected to hospitals, in a bid to save human lives, he further said.
Khan shared that while Karachi is so far faring well in terms of oxygen demand, there has been a recent upsurge in coronavirus cases in the Punjab province, meriting a higher oxygen supply in chief cities.
“Thus, the oxygen being produced in Karachi is currently being siphoned to Lahore, where the demand is relatively higher,” he informed.