Increase in Delhi pollution has led to a spike in respiratory problems. (Representational)
A haze enveloped Delhi as the air quality nosedived to ‘severe’ category on Tuesday with stubble burning intensifying in neighbouring states.
The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) at 3 pm was 401, falling in the ‘severe’ category, the highest this season, Central Pollution Control Board officials said.
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.
Increase in gaseous pollution across the national capital has resulted in spike in chronic cough cases, respiratory problems not only in children but also in adults.
A diabetic patient Prashant told news agency ANI that it is imperative for him to go on a walk everyday to maintain his health but the increased pollutants in the air and wavering temperature are causing difficulty for him.
“I am diabetic. It is essential for me to go on a walk regularly in order to stay fit. But the air quality here has deteriorated so much that it is making me breathless,” he said.
Another resident of the city complained of breathlessness and irritation in the eyes while going for a walk in the morning. “From the past few weeks, I am facing breathing issue due to toxic air. The air pollution is causing irritation in my eyes,” he said.
The SAFAR advised people residing in the national capital to avoid all physical activities outdoor and move activities indoors. The asthmatics have been advised to keep relief medicine handy.
“Stop outdoor activity at early morning and after sunset times. Avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Go for a short walk instead of a jog and make more breaks. If the room has windows, close them. Masks known as N-95 or P-100 respirators may only help if you go out,” it added.
Taking a note of the deteriorating air quality, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday had said that a criminal prosecution would be initiated by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) against those organisations violating polluting norms.
The Minister also said that as many as 50 teams comprising of the Central Pollution Control Board would soon go for field inspection in Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad to monitor the situation.
According to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) titled “Air Pollution and Child Health: Prescribing Clean Air,” the air pollution killed 1.25 lakh children in India below the age of five in 2016 due to toxic air.
The study also found that polluted air particularly inside the households generated by burning of fossil fuels for cooking, lighting and heating has contributed to the death of as many as 67,000 children below the age of five in the country in 2016.
The WHO’s study, which examined the health toll on children breathing toxic air, focused on dangerous particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5). These include toxins like sulfate and black carbon, which pose the greatest health risks since they can penetrate deep into the lungs or cardiovascular system.
The report also revealed that adolescents in poorer countries are at greater risk, with a full 98 per cent of all children under five in low and middle income countries exposed to PM2.5 levels above WHO air quality guidelines. That compares to 52 per cent in high income countries, WHO said.
(With Inputs From PTI, ANI)