Experts: Minimise use of private vehicles, report those violating pollution norms
Delhi's air quality deteriorated sharply on Monday to fall in the severe category for the second time within a week due to a change in wind direction and rampant stubble burning in neighbouring states, authorities said
As spike in air pollution levels left Delhiites breathless, experts have asked people to report violators of pollution norms to authorities and said each citizen can make a difference by minimising use private vehicles. Doctors here have also expressed concern over the rise in number of patients suffering from respiratory problems. Delhi's air quality deteriorated sharply on Monday to fall in the severe category for the second time within a week due to a change in wind direction and rampant stubble burning in neighbouring states, authorities said.
"The public can play a critical role in making the ground level situation more transparent. But, we also need to be responsible by reducing our carbon footprint," executive director at the Delhi-based think-tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Anumita Roychowdhury, said. This can be done by "minimising use of our vehicles, using combine trips, shared transport, cycles and public transport or walking as much as possible, as personal responsibility will also make a difference", she said. Roychowdhury also said people's participation was absolutely critical to keep the pressure on authorities and to ensure that they are doing their job properly.
"People must also keep their eyes open and report violators of pollution norms and guidelines immediately to authorities," she said. The CPCB has started a social media page and app where people can lodge complaints and report violation of norms. Dipankar Saha, former additional director and head of air quality management division at the CPCB, said, people can play a big role by reducing emissions by reducing use of private vehicles, not burning garbage and not bursting firecrackers "On Diwali, emission from industrial sector is almost zero, total emission comes either from vehicles or from fire cracker," he said. Doctors said the number of patients suffering from breathlessness and other respiratory ailments have shot up in the last few days.
"The present air quality has become a threat for the people. It has become highly polluted and has passed the permissible limit of pollutant manifold. Pollution can affect almost all system in body," senior consultant and head of department, respiratory medicine, BLK Super Speciality Hospital, Sandeep Nayar, said. He said the number of patients have shot up in the last few days. "Even the severity of the disease has increased. We have a spurt of almost 20 to 30 per cent in our outdoor patient service. These patients suffer from cough, breathlessness, sneezing, fever and respiratory distress.
"The Commonest ailment seen are acute severe bronchitis, upper respiratory tract infection and exacerbation of asthma," Nayar said. Puneet Khanna, senior consultant, interventional pulmonology, respiratory and sleep medicine at the Pulmonology Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital, said smog can lead to several types of short-term health problems. "High levels of pollutants can irritate your respiratory system, generally lasting for a few hours after you've been exposed to smog.
"However, these harmful particles can continue to damage your lungs in the long-term even after symptoms disappear. An increase in breathlessness and cardiac arrest are seen in patients predisposed to these ailments," Khanna said. Pollution can also have a severe impact on the health of pregnant women, doctors said. The current level of air pollution poses a high risk to pregnant women and the baby in their wombs, gynaecologist, obstetrician and IVF expert, Nurture IVF Centre, Archana Dhawan Bajaj, said. "The fetus receives oxygen from the mother, and if she is breathing polluted air, it can increase the health risk of unborn babies. "Most importantly pregnant women in the first trimester need to be more careful as risk increases and pollution can cause a medical condition called intrauterine inflammation," she said.
Bajaj said, "Prenatal exposure to pollutants increases the risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight, other factors that can compound to developmental disabilities later on." If we talk about the major risk factors, pollution can cause asthma to the baby in later stages, she said. Delhiites have also expressed concern over the sudden increase in the pollution level. "If the situation is this bad now, I can't anticipate what the situation would be after DIwali," said Neha Sarkar, a Mayur Vihar resident. Another resident said the air deterioration again this year has reduced the festivities for them who are now apprehensive in even stepping out.
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