What is a pollen calendar ?

Context

  • By studying airborne pollen and its seasonal variations for about two years, researchers from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) and Panjab University have created a pollen calendar for Chandigarh, arguably the first for any city in India.
  • Titled, ‘Pollen calendar to depict seasonal periodicities of airborne pollen species in a city situated in Indo-Gangetic plain, India.

What is a pollen calendar?

  • Pollen calendars represent the time dynamics of airborne pollen present in a particular geographical area.

     pollen calendar
    Photo: Getty

  • They yield readily accessible visual details about various airborne pollen present throughout the year in a single picture.

Is this a new concept in India? Where else in the west has this calendar been used?

  • Though the concept is not essentially new, this is one of the major environmental concerns that had not been addressed for the Indian cities.
  • Such calendars are location-specific, as pollen concentrations are closely related to locally distributed flora. Europe, UK and the US are using regional pollen calendars in a big way to prevent and diagnose allergic rhinitis/hay fever and predict the timing and severity of the pollen season.

Why is it important to study pollen?

  • Pollen grains are male biological structures with the primary role of fertilisation, but when inhaled by humans, they may strain the respiratory system and cause allergies. Pollen found suspended in air can cause widespread upper respiratory tract and nasobronchial allergy with manifestations like asthma, seasonal rhinitis, and bronchial irritation.
  • Pollen is considered a major outdoor airborne allergen responsible for allergic rhinitis, asthma, and atopic dermatitis in humans. Considering these concerns, we conducted this study for Chandigarh.

How will a pollen calendar benefit people, especially those who have respiratory issues?

  • A pollen calendar provides a clear understanding for clinicians, as well as people with allergies to identify the potential allergy triggers and help to limit their exposure during high pollen load season.

What kind of trees must be grown alongside our roads or in parks?

  • Plant monoecious plants (male and female flowers on the same plant). Hibiscus, lilies, and holly that are grown widely in Chandigarh are examples of such plants. Cucumbers and squashes are also monoecious. Select plants with low to moderate pollen production.
  • Non-allergic or entomophilous plant species should be chosen to provide an allergen-free atmosphere. Examples of such plants include rose, jasmine, salvia, Bougainvillea, Raat ki rani and sunflower.

Source: Indian Express


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