LAHORE - Not a single prominent institution, both public sector and private, has arranged any activity to mark World Asthma Day this year.

Unlike the previous years when some private institutions performed the ritual by arranging seminars, walks and free medical camps to mark the day, no one even bothered to do that this time around.

WAD is an initiative begun in 1998 by the Global Initiative for Asthma, an organisation that sets medical guidelines for the control of the disease. The purpose of the event, arranged on first Tuesday of May, is to raise awareness of the causes and effects of this bronchial condition, which affects approximately 235 million people worldwide.

At least seven million people are suffering from asthma in Pakistan. The number of patients is increasing particularly in big cities like Lahore due ever deteriorating environmental pollution. Smoke emitted by moving and stationary sources (vehicles and factories), large scale digging and cutting of trees for development purposes, burning of garbage and smoking are major causes of increase in number of asthma patients.

Asthma is a chronic infection of the lungs which create problems while breathing. Excessive pollution and severe weather conditions and fumes can also cause asthma. Old people, infants and children are more vulnerable to the disease.

Chronic nasal allergy can also be resulted into asthma. Parental smoking is also a major contributing factor producing asthma, rapid urbanization, industrial and traffic pollution, burning of garbage, overcrowding, environmental degradation is further aggravating asthma suffering.