Pune: PMC Set To Tackle Pigeon Menace As Residents Raise Concerns

Pune: PMC Set To Tackle Pigeon Menace As Residents Raise Concerns

The practice of feeding pigeons has been linked to multiple respiratory diseases, particularly in children and the elderly

Ankit ShuklaUpdated: Tuesday, February 27, 2024, 07:02 PM IST
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Pune: PMC Set To Tackle Pigeon Menace As Residents Raise Concerns | Anand Chaini

When Shah Rukh Khan and Amrish Puri's characters in a scene from 'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge' fed the pigeons, inviting them with "Aao Aao Aao," it was a moment cherished by many. Little did anyone anticipate that these birds would later become a significant health hazard.

The practice of feeding pigeons has been linked to multiple respiratory diseases, particularly in children and the elderly. Ashok Medankar, a resident of Baner, explained, "Pigeon droppings cause respiratory illnesses like Psittacosis, an infectious flu-like disease that spreads to humans from infected birds. It is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia psittaci, leading to pneumonia or lung infection." He added, "A rare type of ailment known as Bird Fancier’s Lung or Bird Breeder's Lung is caused due to the antigens present in bird droppings."

Devendra Jani, an animal activist, emphasised the increasing population of pigeons, stating, "The population of pigeons is increasing day by day because they don't have many predators. They have also become the dominant bird species. Other birds, such as sparrows, are difficult to spot due to the exponential growth in the pigeon population, which has replaced many other birds in the ecosystem."

Samir Pilane, a resident of Viman Nagar, shared his concerns, stating, "Pigeons are a menace as they converge in large numbers and litter the area. Pigeon droppings, which are acidic, are very difficult to clean or remove if not done promptly. Also, pigeon droppings can cause various ailments for humans, as doctors warn people not to feed pigeons in residential areas because they gather in huge numbers."

Meanwhile, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has expressed its intention to take action. Vaishali Jadhav, Assistant Health Officer, PMC, stressed the importance of public awareness, stating, "Citizens need to be aware of the issue. Feeding pigeons is hazardous, especially for senior citizens. Once affected by the disease, recovery takes time. We appeal to the public not to feed pigeons."

Sandip Kadam, Deputy Commissioner (Solid Waste Management Department), mentioned plans to address the issue, stating, "We are in the process of devising plans to fine and penalise individuals for feeding pigeons."

'Pigeon droppings carry over 60 diseases'

Research reveals that pigeon droppings harbour over 60 diseases, including Histoplasmosis, Candidiasis (fungal infection), Cryptococcosis (a pulmonary disease affecting the central nervous system), St Louis Encephalitis (an inflammation of the nervous system), Salmonellosis (food poisoning), and infections caused by E. coli present in bird droppings. Additionally, they can spread Newcastle disease, a highly contagious avian illness caused by a paramyxovirus.

How to prevent infection?

To avoid infection, it's crucial to take precautions when cleaning up or coming into contact with pigeon droppings. Always wash your hands and clean any exposed skin before eating, drinking, or touching your face. Similarly, if you're feeding or handling birds, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Individuals with compromised immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or cancer, should refrain from cleaning up droppings to minimise the risk of infection.

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