High-rises block sun, ventilation in old homes


Can suffocate people and cause illnesses

With new multi-storeyed buildings coming up, old ones are increasingly being starved of proper ventilation. Not only does lack of ventilation cause suffocation; absence of sunlight due to the new buildings causes adverse health effects.

“I have lived in this area for the past 40 years and seen new buildings come up around my house. Not only have these buildings blocked sunlight but also made ventilation difficult. We can’t leave our homes because of these new buildings. There is no proper planning in the way they are constructed,” R. Thammaiah, a resident of Koramangala ST Bed Layout, informed The Observer.

Doctors say lack of sunlight and ventilation in houses makes the air inside more dangerous than the carbon dioxide outside. Minimum or no sunlight and ventilation also make the walls of homes prone to dampness.

“We used to get enough sunlight before this huge apartment block came up. Due to lack of vitamin D in my body, my doctor has asked me to sit in the sun for some time every morning. Now getting enough sunlight for clothes to dry has become a problem,” said Prema N. a resident of Mantri Square, Sampige Road, Malleswaram.

Uma Srinivas, who lives in Adugodi, said: “I have a small kid in the house, and it’s important for the house to have proper ventilation in order to avoid diseases, but new buildings around my house have completely blocked the flow of fresh air and sunlight. We worked hard to build a house and do not have the money to shift elsewhere.”

Asked about the matter, Rajiv Singh, an architect in UB City, Vittal Mallya Road, said: “We try and give maximum output in the provided area. Because limited space is available, the customer wants maximum utilization…, which results in tall buildings and closely built ones that end up blocking ventilation and sunlight for others.”

“Either there should be more space or people should opt for single- or double-storeyed houses to avoid these issues. But this doesn’t work in huge cities like Bengaluru, where multi-storeyed buildings are built,” he added.

A report by World Health Organisation said 4.3 million people every year die prematurely from illnesses attributable to household air pollution caused by the either inefficient use of solid fuels for cooking or lack of ventilation. Among these deaths:

  • 12% are due to pneumonia
  • 34% are caused by stroke
  • 26% by ischemic heart disease
  • 22% by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • And 6% by lung cancer

“Everybody should make sure that their houses have adequate ventilation and sunlight as lack of either of the two can result in serious health effects. Specially people with small children should take care that their houses are properly ventilated and receive adequate sunlight so that the kids are not prone to diseases from the beginning,” Shalina Ray, a physician at Manipal Hospitals, HAL Airport Road, said.

Gundappa GNS, a resident of Koramangala 8th Block, said: “We have seen the city develop rapidly. With so many people coming from other states in search of employment, the city has become overcrowded, leaving no option but to construct buildings close to each other. This results in blockage of ventilation and sunlight.”

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