Delhiites gasping for breath both in and out of home
With the Delhi government preparing for its second Car-Free Day on Sunday, November 22, many experts have called for a lot more action in order to reduce Delhi’s toxic and highly polluted air.
“The haze we see around even in the afternoon should not be misunderstood as fog. It is smog, caused by high number of particulate matters suspended in the air which can prove to be fatal,” said Polash Mukherjee of CSE.
Vivek Chattopadhay of CSE while speaking to Millennium Post stated that during Diwali time, even though the focus was on pollution caused due to burning of paddy remnants and the bursting of firecrackers, it is very important to curb the growing menace caused by vehicular emission, especially those running on diesel.
Diesel vehicles emit more carcinogenic and toxic materials, PM 2.5 particulate matters and almost five times more Nitrogen Dioxide as compared to vehicles running on petrol.
All these factors severely affect the human lungs. Chattopadhay also claims that even though there has been a brief reduction in the sales of diesel vehicles, the numbers are still high.
Even as citizens of Delhi grapple with outdoor pollution, the air inside their own homes may also prove to have an adverse effect on their health.
Chattopadhay claims that with Delhi having the highest network of roads, nearly 55% of its population live in the proximity to these roads. Dr Vivek Nagia, director, department of pulmonology at a private hospital in Vasant Kunj explains: “Dampness, dust particles present on fans, carpets, bed items, pets, smoke from mosquito coils, incense sticks, faulty electrical devices as well as chimneys are some of the major causes of indoor pollution.”
Dr Nangia says that cleaning the house at least once a week with masks on, avoiding pets with feather and furs and keeping the humidity low can be used to contain indoor pollution.
The indoor and outdoor pollution has already started taking a toll on Delhiites with the rise of various respiratory diseases.
“If the person gets chronic cough, feels breathlessness during exercising, climbing stairs, feels redness in eyes, gets constant headaches, it must not be taken lightly,” says Dr Suri, chest physician at the Safdarjung Hospital.
“There has been a systemic failure in our approach in dealing with pollution. The government should now work towards making citizens aware of the pollution around them,” said Vivek Chattopadhay.