Friday, June 3, 2011

Fast-growing parthenium poses health risk in Balangir June 04, 2011 12:05:44 PM

BHUBANESWAR | Saturday, June 4, 2011 | Email | Print | | Back


Fast-growing parthenium poses health risk in Balangir
June 04, 2011 12:05:44 PM

SUDHIR MISHRA | Balangir

Much to the chagrin of the environmentalists, parthenium grass is growing fast and spreading to greater areas in Balangir town here. The grass is conspicuous wherever you go, be it inside the district headquarters hospital (DHH), PHD Office, inside the Ayurvedic College or any open field in the town.

Parthenium or congress grass or carrot weed is one of the most noxious weeds of the world belonging to the family of sunflower (asteraceae). It was accidentally introduced in India in the late 1950s. It now spreads over most part of the country sharing the niche of other plants.

“Its adaptability is amazing. Probably its long flowering pattern extending up to six to seven months is regulating the factor.

Neither ornamental nor edible, the weed is a curse of nature for human beings and other wild animals,” says a Lecturer in botany Aswini Rath. The parts of the weed, including the pollen, contain toxins called sesquiterpene lactones having parthenin and other phenolic acids (eg anisic acid, caffeic acid etc).

Direct contact induces severe skin allergy known as parthenium dermatitis in exposed parts, affecting hands, face, neck and even eye lids. Its management needs long-term corticosteroids administration in the patient. It is also known to cause asthma, bronchitis and hay-fever in man and livestock, Rath says further.

The plants should be uprooted before flowering and buried or killed with suitable weedicides or burnt to get rid of it, Rath opines. CDMO Dr PC Sahu says the weed causes skin allergies and aggravates asthma. But when asked about the fast growing weed inside the hospital premises, Sahu said, “I would certainly take steps to clear it very soon.”

Massive public awareness and participation is very essential for the eradication of the obnoxious plant.

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