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Voice of people

Articles and letters may be edited for purposes of clarity, space and should carry the writer’s address, CNIC and phone numbers. Postal address: Daily Pakistan Observer, Ali Akbar House Markaz G-8, Islamabad, Pakistan. Email: editorial@pakobserver.net

Road safety

I am a regular reader of your newspaper and wish to use the columns of your esteemed daily to bring to the notice of the public and the authorities the urgent need for road safety. Young drivers enjoy driving at fast speed and often flaunt rules and regulations. They get an adrenaline rush by driving beyond the speed limit and claim it is exciting and thrilling. But, it is extremely dangerous as the roads are crowded, there is much less control of the vehicle at great speed and there is a greater chance of accidents. We must follow traffic rules, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
At times, people drive very fast under the influence of alcohol and this must be avoided at all costs. Pedestrians must cross only at zebra crossings and drivers need to give right of way to them. At the traffic lights, drivers need to park vehicles behind the ‘Stop’ sign. They must ensure their vehicle’s indicator lights are working and the horn is heard clearly. Traffic police has to impose fines strictly on offenders: people driving without helmets or without using seat belts should be checked. I hope that the public will realise the importance of road safety and the authorities will take more measures to check offenders.

Contagious bovine Pleuropneumonia

Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) is a disease of the respiratory tract of cattle caused by Mycoplasma, mycoides subsp. mycoides. The disease is characterized by a long incubation period as long as of six months and is manifested by anorexia, fever, dyspnea, polypnea, cough and nasal discharges, although arthritis occurs in young calves usually less than 6 months of age.
It induces lesions of pleuropneumonia in acute cases and the formation of pulmonary “sequestra” in chronic cases. World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has approved two serological tests; the complement fixation test and a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the diagnosis of CBPP but, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has higher sensitivity hence, the use of PCR is highly recommended in CBPP surveillance especially in test and slaughter procedure for the disease eradication program. Penicillin, aminoglycoside and chloramphenicol should not be used for treatment of CBPP but tetracycline, macrolides, lincosamines, and fluoroquinolones are being used against Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoidesin Africa. Vaccination is very important in the control of lung sickness in endemic areas. The efficacy of live vaccines is directly related to the virulence of the original strain of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoidesused for their production. Attenuated virulent strains may produce the best immunity titer but local and systemic reactions may also be induced which may even result in the death of the animal. Among many vaccinal strains, only two are now being used in Africa, Tl/ 44 and its streptomycin-resistant derivate, Tlsr.

Polluted Karachi beach

According to recent reports, Karachi’s coastal areas are host to many deadly bacteria causing diseases. These areas include Clifton beach which is frequented by huge crowds on weekends and public holidays. The source of the bacteria is said to be the Lyari River as well as untreated waste from urban areas near the coast. The problem is compounded by littering at beaches. This is a very serious public health hazard and it is imperative that action be taken to resolve this issue immediately. Bacterial infection isn’t the only danger in this situation, as the pollution at the beaches also affects marine life which has disastrous consequences for the environment. The Karachi Administration should pass and enforce anti-littering laws at the city’s beaches. The city should also have sewage treatment plants to stop hazardous waste from making its way into the ocean.

Smoking kills

I wish to draw attention of all stakeholders towards a serious issue that increases in our people and spreads air pollution i.e. Smoking. Death rate has increased manifold due to increased smoking tobacco in young as well as the elderly. The fact is that the young generation is more motivated to smoking because it is presumed by them that smoking enhances their prestige and it is status symbol. It is not so. Habit of smoking is very deadly which not only takes life of addictive smoker but also those who are present around smoky.
It may please be kept in mind that cigarettes are highly addictive, and difficult to give up once a person takes up smoking. It is extremely important that the government should implement laws which ban the sale of cigarettes. The price of cigarettes is also cheap in the country, unlike other parts of the world, but the cost to national health is staggering. Loose cigarettes are easily available in the market. All this can be avoided, but it requires intelligent policymaking and the will to change. Though it is mentioned on every packet of cigarettes that smoking causes cancer and is injurious to health, but still their sale is on the high side. The government has to take serious action against cigarette manufacturing companies with a view to save life of the people.

Sin and health tax

The tax on tobacco sales, an established cause for cancer, cardiac related ailments and health related issues, should have been raised prohibitively higher to such a level to make it unaffordable and prevent addiction by our younger generation. Taxes which come within domain of sin tax are levied not just to raise revenues but to divert these funds to run hospitals which cater to patients affected by tobacco consumption and not dilute allocated health budget which is already insufficient to provide basic health facilities.
Unfortunately super bureaucrats and retired super khakis employed by Tobacco industry on their Board of Directors serve as lobbyists to protect them from taxation rise. This proposed Rs10 tax on every packet of cigarette sold is insufficient to achieve basic objective which is to prevent addiction by making it unaffordable. It should be Rs100 on cheapest brand. Similarly tax on smallest bottle of fizzy drinks should be raised by minimum of Rs 10 not just Rs1 only. Succumbing to pressure from politically powerful sugar and bottled carbonated drink industry will harm our future generations and result in obesity etc. Sugar serves as catalyst for cancer. Countries where state and its institutions provide welfare to citizens, direct taxation is levied on all sources of income.
It is only when all existing sources of income have been exhausted, indirect taxes are levied because they adversely impact poor and those who evade or pay taxes evenly. In Pakistan the irony is that indirect taxes are levied to give subsidies to affluent elite and tax evaders and beneficiaries of subsidized real estate allotment, the Land Mafia Dons and feudal lobby. Since 2017 Benami assets have been declared illegal and punishments legislated, yet repeated amnesty schemes. This is not Jinnah’s Pakistan.