Yes, its true! Delhi belly is full of filth. And therefore a total of 20% of the world’s children staying here face the risks of developing life-long health complications due to air pollution. Many of them also face certain challenges of life threatening disease. This is what has been revealed in recently released report by UNICEF entitled, ‘Clean the Air for Children.’
The report adds that many of these kids also face certain challenges of life threatening disease. The kids catch infections quite easily due to air pollution. This is because of their physiology as well as due to different degree of their exposure to the pollutants. Kids also breathe twice as fast as adults. They inhale more air and pollutants which affect their growth and make their immune system weak.
Further, giving goosebumps to parents, this report presents a holistic study showing that outdoor air pollution exceeds over six times in India that of the set limits which are considered safe internationally.
Hence, in these testing times, don’t you think it is the duty of government to bring in some tough measures to check pollution levels in capital as well as in the country.
This Saturday, I was in Delhi and for the first time, I saw sun struggling to show its might on earth even at 12 noon. Traffic cops on roads were wearing masks on their faces; even those walking on streets had a fear on their face. I wondered is this the same Delhi, which I left hale and healthy six months back. And then came reports after reports on its pollutants figures:
* It’s AQI index surpassed the benchmark of 300 to touch the figure of 392 which is being considered very poor: Now you must be willing to know more about AQI. It is an air quality index (AQI) used by government agencies to communicate to the public about the pollution level. It states how polluted the air is or how polluted it could become in future. The increase in the AQI leads to the adverse health effects for a large percentage of the population.
*The ever-mounting figures of pollution in Delhi became a cause of concern for one and all: Both the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) rang alarm bells to make people realise the fact that the city’s air quality has touched hazardous levels during the winter.
*Source of pollution: The weather conditions, Diwali crackers and smoke from crop fire have been the vital reasons triggering some disastrous results in Delhi and its surrounding zones. Meanwhile, the major sources for air pollution identified in Delhi are inefficient modes of transport, household fuel and waste burning, coal-fired power plants, and industrial activities. The city gets all the more pollutants on Diwali with the crackers leaving no stone unturned to make the air toxic.
* High level of pollutants: On October 30, 2016, that is on Diwali day, the PM2.5 levels jumped to 1,238, which, in normal circumstances, should remain below 10. These are tiny particles which remain suspended in air and get into lungs causing reasons for high mortality risks. The exposure to average annual concentrations of PM2.5 of 35 or above is associated with a 15% higher long-term mortality risk.
* And the data says: A recently derived Data from satellite measurements, air transport models and ground station collected by monitoring over 3,000 rural and urban locations, reveals that an estimated 3 million deaths a year are reported due to an exposure to outdoor air pollution. In 2012, an estimated 6.5 million deaths making it over 11.6 per cent of global deaths were associated with exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution.
This report also revealed the fact that around 90 per cent of air-pollution-related deaths are reported in countries which are low- and middle-income. Nearly two out of three such deaths occur in WHO’s South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions.
* Diseases from air pollution: A few major diseases triggered by air pollution are cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke and lung cancer. The number of acute respiratory infections also multiply with the increase in air pollution.
Need of the hour: A legislation is quickly required to curb the air pollution.
Although there are a few laws already in place for automobile emissions, but they need some amount of upgradation as well to touch better standards. Laws regarding the refinement of chimney emissions etc which reduce pollutants and PM particles from the emission need to be checked for its implementation.
The government needs to send health updates to residents about air quality. It should also order taking off roads the heavy polluting diesel vehicles. Introducing a safer public transport is yet another initiative the government can take.
Close on the heel of China’s initiative, it should also close colleges and offices after closing schools.This initiative will help avoid its people getting exposed to dreadful air pollutants.
There is a stringent need to take quick action to fix things before it gets too late. Urgent measures need to be taken to make air in India the best in the world, which, on Diwali night, was among the world’s worst.
Let the government agencies implement something concrete which can give respite to the citizens and let the people too avow to keep their surroundings clean, to minimise use of private vehicles especially diesel ones, to ensure better life for the coming generations.