Delhi and the National Capital Region hit the severe mark in air quality index again on Monday. The city faces severe levels of smog and pollution after Diwali every year and as a result, the air quality gets awfully deteriorated. The population prone to respiratory diseases includes elderly, children below 5 years, pregnant women, persons with poor nutritional status. Affecting our respiratory system, the toxic levels of air pollution is directly putting people at a higher risk for asthma and lung inflammation and increasing the chances of developing other chronic respiratory diseases.
The government in Delhi on Sunday issued a health advisory to help people fight the severe air pollution level. On Sunday, the Air Quality Index in Delhi was recorded at 999 at several places and even more than 1000 at Noida and Ghaziabad. The acceptable AQI level is below 200.
On Friday, Supreme Court has declared a public health emergency in Delhi-NCR region. Doctors have warned people of dire consequences and discouraging them from stepping outdoors. Adding to the severity, the changing weather conditions have locked the pollutants in the air and made the situation worse in and around Delhi.
Some of the possible reasons behind this soaring pollution could be as follows:
- Growing population
- Huge rise of vehicles
- Aggravating traffic congestion and
- Increasing air and noise pollution.
And, as very year when the winter season sets in, dust particles and pollutants in the air become unable to move. Because of stagnant winds, these pollutants get locked in the air and affect weather conditions, resulting in smog and haze.
The various health effects of air pollution include:
- Chest constriction
- Irritation in eyes
- Frequent headache
The government in Delhi advised the public to avoid outdoor physical activities, especially during morning and late evening hours. The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) mentioned that persons having occupations of prolonged exposure such as traffic policemen, traffic volunteer, rickshaw pullers, auto-rickshaw drivers, road side vendors should take extra precautions as they possess more risk.
The government has issued several do’s and don’ts for the public and they are as follows:
- Stay indoors as much as possible. Reschedule outdoors activities
- Walk to work, or ride a bicycle, if going to a nearby supermarket.
- Wear a mask whenever you go out and wear the right masks with respirators. Use certified N-95 masks and follow user instructions
- Check for air pollution levels before going out – try to download a mobile app that can help provide real-time air quality data from all cities across India. The apps are available for download to Android and iOS users.
- Place air purifying plants like tulsi, spider plant, aloe vera in homes and offices to improve indoor air quality.
- Persons with airway, lung or heart illnesses should keep their medication readily available
- Get a valid pollution under control certificate from authorized testing centre.
- Shift to options like carpooling, public transport to reduce number of vehicles plying on road.
- Clean the air filter and oil filter of the vehicle regularly.
- Keep proper check on pollution of vehicles.
- Keep automobiles fuel filters clean and save the fuel.
- Don’t go for morning and late evening walks, run, job and physical exercise.
- Don’t burn leaves, wood, agriculture products, garbage.
- Don’t go to places (and hours) with heavy traffic and areas near polluting places, construction sites etc.
- Don’t open doors and windows during morning and late evenings.
- Don’t use extensively your private vehicles; try to use public transportation whenever possible.
- Don’t smoke
- Don’t idle away energy. Beyond one minute, it is more fuel-efficient to restart your car
- Don’t forget to keep your vehicle tuned up with getting it serviced on time. When a vehicle is running well, it uses nine percent less fuel and thus emits fewer toxic and noxious fumes.
- Don’t forget to replace your old battery with a new battery when it required.
Few dietary guidelines which one can follow are given below:
- Stay hydrated. Drink more water to flush out toxins and harmful particles from body.
- Eat a healthy diet consisting of fruits rich in vitamin C, magnesium, omega fatty acids that can help fight any allergy or infection.
- Try to have saline water or gargle with warm water before sleeping.
- Have herbal ginger and tulsi tea in adequate quantity.
Prevention is the solution, not precaution
With the hazardous air in Delhi, the level of pollution is increasing every year and it is important for us, to take an initiative at individual level. The government should develop stringent laws and suggest alternatives like odd-even and understand the fact that this is the need of the hour. Consult the nearest doctor in case of breathlessness, giddiness, cough, chest discomfort or pain, irritation in eyes.