The capital city of India is choking and this is an Emergency!
And an emergency requires urgent action; isn’t it?
So, what are YOU doing about it? And what actions are the AUTHORITIES taking on this?
The AQI (Air Quality Index) in Delhi is 999 that is 15 times more than that of New York City. Even Beijing has AQI of just 134, far less than Delhi and surrounding areas. The safe level of AQI is supposed to be less than 50. The AQI of various other cities in India is given below for your reference:
To manage any disease, we first need to assess the cause and then proceed to symptomatic treatment and thereafter preventive measures. So let’s study this situation through an objective lens.
According to research, following are some of the causative factors for the increased toxic matter in the air:
- Persistent Vehicular Pollution
- Dust from Construction sites
- Crop Burning
- Garbage burning
- Bursting of Crackers
Let me also elaborate on the toxins that we all are inhaling? Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Oxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Benzene, Ammonia, Sulphur Dioxide and tiny particles PM 10 and PM 2.5.
Now coming to the adverse effects that are induced by inhaling these toxins persistently in such alarming levels:
- Increased respiratory problems especially in people with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease) and Asthma.
- Fatigue and headache
- Research has shown that children can suffer from low IQ, risk of autism and epilepsy on persistent and/or significant exposure to air toxins.
- Inhaling of such air toxins can lead to reduced life span.
- Increased incidence of stroke and heart failure in adults.
We need to take strong preventive and symptomatic measures to manage the choking hazard in Delhi before it grows into a cancerous disease. So what are some short term and immediate measures that can be taken at an individual level?
- Indoor Plants: There are some plants that might help in purifying indoor air. Plants like Spider plant, Ficus, Peace Lily, Snake plant, Boston Fern and Bamboo Palm may help in removing toxins like Benzene, Ammonia from the air.
- Increase anti-oxidants in diet: Taking antioxidants especially Vitamin C may help in curbing the harmful effects of the toxins.
- Keep AC on for filtered air: It is advisable to use air purifiers at home. You can also use your air conditioner in the ‘Fan’ mode for similar result.
- Keep the windows closed to avoid toxic air inside your house.
- It is medically advisable to avoid morning/evening walks and minimize outdoor activities to minimum for a couple of days.
What about Preventive Measures? Authorities and common public together can come together to create solutions for this increasing air pollution in Delhi:
Strict law enforcement in curbing all the old diesel vehicles is essential. Encourage car-pooling and increased use of public transport. Students and schools should be encouraged to create regular drives for common public to create awareness. Again strict law enforcement is required to make optimal use of landfills for garbage disposal and dust from construction sites. Crop burning is a serious issue. There must be more scientific ways to increase the fertility of agricultural land other than burning of crops. A kind request to media to focus on constructive discussions regarding such topics rather than political mud-slinging. Please engage scientific people in such talks for creative and practical solutions. Also focus on exposing defaulters in cases of vehicular pollution, garbage burning and crop burning. This might dissuade people indulging in such harmful activities.
Schools should not have “No Crackers” policy in name only. Try having debates, classroom discussions and nukkad natak to enforce such themes.
I am not blaming any political party or person. The purpose of this article is to make people aware of the current dismal situation in the capital city of India and, various ways to combat that.