New Delhi: Around 80 percent of Delhi-NCR families had at least one member facing air pollution-related ailments in the last few weeks, revealed a survey conducted by LocalCircles, a community social media platform.
The air quality in Delhi-NCR is currently hovering between the “very poor” and “severe” categories. Nearly 18 per cent of people indicated that they or their family members had already visited a doctor or hospital, the survey said.
Around 22 per cent said one or more members in their family had spoken to the doctor already or had exchanged messages with them, it pointed out.
Of the 8,097 respondents, 69 per cent said that they were experiencing sore throat and/or cough; 56 per cent complained of burning eyes; 50 per cent runny nose and/or congestion; 44 per cent were reeling under breathing difficulty/asthma; 44 per cent were afflicted with headaches; 44 per cent were having problems in sleeping; and 31 per cent had anxiety and/or difficulty concentrating, the study showed.
Sachin Taparia, the founder of LocalCircles, said, “Four in five families in Delhi-NCR have some member experiencing pollution-related problems. The situation has turned worse in the last five days.”
Exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which is 25 to 100 times thinner than human air, has multiple short-term and long-term health impacts. According to SAFAR data, stubble burning contributed to 34 per cent of Delhi’s PM2.5 pollution.
“PM 2.5 penetrates deep into lung passageways and is closely associated with excessive premature mortality. Children, the elderly, those with pre-existing health conditions like asthma and heart problems are more susceptible,” Taparia said.
“Children, elderly and those whose lungs and hearts are weak should not go to such places where there is pollution. If you want to go, do so during the day when there is sunlight and wear a mask,” cautioned Dr Randeep Guleria, former AIIMS director. He added, “Air pollution is a silent killer.”
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a warning stating that air pollution could lead to fatal diseases like stroke and cause more heart problems.
WHO has warned that air pollution can cause heart disease and stroke which are common reasons for premature death and evidence is also emerging of other effects such as diabetes and neurodegenerative conditions.
This warning comes at a time when GRAP stage III has been imposed in Delhi, and air quality has slipped to ‘severe category.’
On November 6, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi crosses 450 marks at many places, as per Central Pollution Control Board.