Public cooperation is an absolute imperative to reduce air pollution and its effects

1:03 pm Uncategorized

Protocols set for larger good must be followed

New Delhi, 11th November 2018: Air pollution levels in the capital city of New Delhi turned hazardous the night after Diwali despite Supreme Court’s efforts to curb the bursting of crackers. Some of the major monuments such as India Gate and Red Fort were covered in toxic haze and visibility on major roads was reduced to barely 50 metres (160 feet). Early morning ambient air quality readings touched 526, according to the US embassy in the city which independently monitors pollution levels.

Air quality readings above 500 are considered extremely serious and can aggravate heart and lung diseases. It is advisable to avoid any outdoor activity. Delhi’s air quality typically worsens in winter, due to pollution from the burning of rice stubble, diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and industrial emissions.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Smog is a complex mixture formed by various pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and dust particles, which interact with sunlight to form ground-level ozone, leading to the build-up of haze that hangs in industrial cities. This is a high-alert situation for the city with children and older adults at high risk. Those with lung disorders and breathing issues are also highly vulnerable to the ill effects of this condition. Air pollution is responsible for 3,000 premature deaths in Delhi every year which works out to 8 deaths a day. Also, one in three Delhi kids has reduced lung function and high propensity for increased pulmonary hemorrhage due to the high pollution levels. It is recommended to take precautions for the next few days by staying indoors and not venturing out for exercises or walks.”

Short-term particulate exposure contributed to acute coronary events (heart attack) in patients with underlying coronary artery disease. PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 are risk factors of all-cause, cardiovascular, stroke, respiratory, and COPD mortality. PM1 accounts for the vast majority of short-term PM2.5- and PM10-induced mortality. Smaller size fractions of PM have a more toxic mortality impact.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Delhi has been experiencing high air pollution levels since the past few days. The air quality is particularly poor in the early morning when pollution is extremely high. This is also the time when many people venture out to exercise or drop their school children. It is imperative to use a mask and also make people aware of the harmful effects of air pollution.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Patients with asthma and chronic bronchitis should get the dose of their medicine increased during smog days.
  • Avoid exertion in conditions of smog. It is better to avoid walking during smog hours.
  • Drive slowly during smog hours.
  • Heart patients should stop their early morning walk during smog hours.
  • Remember to take the flu pneumonia vaccine.
  • Keep doors and windows shut particularly during the early morning hours.
  • It is better to wear protective masks if you must venture out.

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