Killer air: Masks a solution but availability, price prove deterrents
As the air quality of Delhi is worsening day by day due to severe pollution, its actually causing health havocs due to the air that is being inhaled by Delhiites. In order to protect themselves from the insurmountable damage, citizens are buying and using N95 masks as an immediate solution.
It, however, has not become much popular yet. When various chemist stores were contacted in the city, many even denied the availability of N95 masks and even added that normal face masks were also not available.
When asked for reasons, many claimed that they were not in demand among customers. Those who possessed the stock of N95 masks acknowledged of the limited availability of the masks. “These masks are generally in demand when there is an outbreak of flu and normally we get orders of such kinds from doctors than the general public,” said a chemist.
The market price of N95 mask can cost you something between Rs 80 and Rs 100 per mask whereas a normal face mask can cost you in the range of Rs 4-8 per mask.
“The cost factor is a major factor why many among the masses are refraining from the usage of N95 masks as it costs Rs 100 per mask and its utility is not even for a day as it needs to be discarded after it becomes moist,” said Dr Vivek Nangia, director and head of the department, Pulmonology, at a private hospital in Vasant Kunj.
Speaking on the utility of N95 masks, Vivek Chattopadhyay of Centre for Science and Environment mentions: “Lack of a basic standardisation procedure set by authorities has resulted in N95 masks not being widely available.”
When asked that how covering your face with N95 masks was different from a normal mask or even that of a hankerchief, Dr J C Suri, head, Pulmonary department of Safdarjung Hospital explained the differences through size of the particles and said: “Large particulate matters of 10 microns gets accumulated in your throat causing a cough, particulate matters of 2-7 microns gets accumulated and affect your lungs while particulate matters less than that mostly gets ejected out, N95 masks protect you from 2-7 micron sized particles but then it also causes difficulties in breathing because of its complexities.”
With the usage of N95 masks having its challenges, more efforts are required from the citizens themselves to protect themselves and their near-and-dear ones from Delhi’s devastating pollution.