Air pollution just got worse in Delhi
The national capital on Monday witnessed very poor air quality with most of the monitoring stations putting the condition in ‘severe’ category.The real time readings showed PM 2.5 five times above the prescribed limit which has the potential to affect healthy people and “seriously impact” those with existing respiratory ailments.
The sudden surge in the quantity of pollutants across the capital is due to calm wind movement and an increase in the amount of humidity,” said an official of Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).
The official added, “There has been a spurt as the polluting particles, of microscopic sizes, are not getting dispersed due to the atmospheric conditions. The 24- hour average of PM 2.5 and PM 10 were 197 and 330 micrograms per cubic metre respectively.”
Although visibility averaged above a kilometre, it will start coming down once the temperature drops to single digit which will be followed by formation of fog and subsequently smog, the official added.
The real time readings of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) stations had PM 2.5 and PM 10 at 381 and 647 micrograms per cubic metre in Anand Vihar while the same were at 339 and 498 in Mandir Marg, the two most polluted spots of the city.
However, the air pollution level is considered to be in the ‘severe’ category when PM 2.5 and PM 10 cross 253, 421 micro gram per cubic metres respectively, which causes severe respiratory illnesses.
Moreover, according to medical experts, with the prolonged exposure to ‘very poor’ quality air – which signifies PM 10 and PM 2.5 levels between 351 and 420, and 211 to 252 micro gram per cubic metre respectively – one can develop different kinds of illnesses including the respiratory problem.
The increasing level of air pollution in the city can be attributed to various factors including burning of crops in the neighbour states, increasing car population, and industrial plumes among others.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), PM 2.5 is considered as the best indicator of the level of health risks from air pollution.
National air quality index of CPCB also had ‘severe’ readings of the Punjabi Bagh, Mandir Marg and R K Puram stations, where PM 2.5 was the most prominent pollutant. System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) stations in Delhi University, IGI Airport, Dhirpur had air in the ‘severe’ category as well, bordering 450 in most cases.
Save your kids, leave Delhi: Doctors
Leave Delhi, right now, if you want to save your children from fatal lungs disorders, severe respiratory problems, nausea, throat infection, pressure and fatigue – this is the suggestion from Delhi-based doctors
Delhi’s air is getting polluted by the day. “If you want your kids to grow up into a normal, healthy person, then Delhi is not the place where he or she should be brought up. Around 22 lakh school children in the national capital are growing up with irreversible lung damage,” Dr Sanjay Jain, ENT Specialist from SCI International Hospital said.
Delhi’s children have more upper respiratory illnesses, such as sinusitis, running or stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat and common cold with fever and two times more lower respiratory diseases like frequent dry cough, sputum-producing cough, wheezing breath, breathlessness on exertion, chest pain or tightness and disturbed sleep (due to breathing problems) than children from less polluted cities.
“Air pollution has come up as one of the major health challenges of modern Indian cities. With increasing respiratory problems and morbidities, it is now important to raise levels of knowledge about pollutants – outdoor as well as indoor -and the health hazards caused by these,Dr Raj Kumar, Head Of Department, Department of Respiratory Allergy & Applied Immunology, Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute said.
Children’s health is most acutely affected by exposure to air pollution. Therefore, potential adverse effects of air pollution on fetus, infants and children should be the main cause of concern while setting up standards for an air pollutants as well as during the revision of existing standards.
“People with a history of respiratory tract infections should stay more careful. This is the worst possible time of the year for them. High level of precautionary measures should be taken. People should cover their faces while travelling. Even staying indoors is not safe as suspended air particles tend to enter through windows,” Dr JC Suri, Professor and Head of Pulmonary Medicine at Safdarjung hospital told Mail Today.