(MENAFN- Tribal News Network) Syed Zahid Jan Dirvi
Thousands of Abele trees, locally known as“Safeda”, in various areas of the Dir Upper district, including the district headquarters, have become a source of discomfort for citizens, especially those who suffer from allergies. The cottonwood fluff, commonly referred to as white cotton, flying from these trees is causing severe problems for both allergy sufferers and the general public while walking on roads and inside their homes and offices.
Yasmin Bibi, a school teacher who suffers from allergies, shared her experience of being exposed to the cottonwood fluff during the months of April and May. She expressed her distress over the repeated suffocation caused by the cotton blowing from the trees.
Bibi mentioned that not only do allergy sufferers face difficulties while going about their daily routines, but even ordinary citizens have to deal with the dirty cotton that flies into their houses and contaminates their food.
Zeeshan Ahmed, a local resident, explained that the cottonwood trees surround their houses, roads, and other places, and every year, thousands of people, including himself, suffer from allergies due to the cottonwood fluff.
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He recounted an incident where a relative with allergies had to be rushed to the hospital due to respiratory problems triggered by the cotton. Zeeshan urged the district administration and forest officials to take notice of the situation and consider banning such trees to alleviate the suffering of the public and allergy sufferers.
Dr. Amtiaz Ahmed, a medical professional, acknowledged the fact that people experience pain and difficulties due to cottonwood trees, particularly in April and May. He explained that the flying cotton from these trees causes various allergies, especially for individuals with asthma and respiratory problems, whether they are at home, on the road, or in workplaces and offices.
Dr. Ahmed differentiated between pollen allergies, which are triggered by being near a tree, and foreign body allergies caused by the cotton flying from white trees.
Dr. Imtiaz advised citizens, especially those with allergies, to wear masks during this season to reduce exposure to the cottonwood fluff and mitigate the problems faced by asthma and breathlessness patients. He emphasized that the cotton from the Abele tree can trigger allergies and affect both individuals with existing allergies and those without allergies if they inhale or ingest it.
Muhammad Usman Khan, the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Upper Dir, acknowledged the issues faced by patients and the general public due to cottonwood trees. He mentioned that these trees are a valuable cash crop, particularly in Charsadda and Swabi areas, providing significant annual income to landowners.
However, he assured that he will address the concerns raised and focus on finding solutions, adding that if higher forest officials order a ban on these trees or suggest alternative tree species, it will be implemented.
It should be noted that the“Safeda” or Abele trees also serve as a source of annual income, as a substantial quantity of cottonwood logs is supplied to other parts of the country for manufacturing match bags, cricket bats, and crates for vegetables and fruits, as well as for shuttering in construction.