Delhi residents on Thursday woke up to a smoggy and hazy morning. For the past couple of weeks, Delhi residents have been forced to stay indoors as a thick blanket of smog and haze enveloped the region, giving tough time to those suffering from asthma and other respiratory problems.
According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the overall air quality index of the capital docked at 383 on Thursday morning, which is considered ‘very poor.’ At Dhirpur, the air quality index (AQI) was 340 at 8:45 am, while in Mathura Road area, the AQI dipped to ‘very poor’ category to 334.
The air quality index near Pitampura, Airport Terminal 3 and Delhi University stood at 329, 317 and 361 respectively.
Speaking to ANI, Dr Sanjeev Arora, who practices at a private medical centre in Noida, said, “High levels of smog in the atmosphere are suffocating, particularly for asthma patients who have hyperactive airways. Scores people are getting attacks due to inflammation of the inner lining of the respiratory tract, caused by toxic matter present in the air. My clinic is witnessing a high number of patients, particularly children and adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).”
Ritu Jain, a resident of Delhi’s Ashok Vihar, also said that her family members are suffering from common health problems such as cold, cough, sneezing and breathlessness. “Elderly in the house are not able to go for even light exercises due to breathlessness and fatigue. My doctor has advised them to take rest and eat rich, healthy food,” she said.
It is advisable for the people of Delhi and the national capital region (NCR) to drink enough water in order to be hydrated. Experts are of the view that adults and children must consume fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain anti-oxidants to boost their immunity. People suffering from asthma must keep nebulizers handy and must avoid going to crowded places. All the outdoor activities must be scheduled for the morning when the pollution level is low.
The forecasting agency on Thursday predicted, “The air quality is in the upper range of very poor and expected to remain within the same category for next 2-3 days. At present, wind speed is slow and hence not good as it allows pollution to get accumulated. Humidity is still high which is also slightly unfavourable. Stubble fire will have a marginal impact.”
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 3 million deaths a year are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution, on the other hand, can be just as deadly. In 2012, an estimated 6.5 million deaths (11.6 per cent of all global deaths) were associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution together. Nearly 90 per cent of air-pollution-related deaths occur in low and middle-income countries.