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Delhi's air pollution is public health emergency, worse is yet to come: doctors

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By Priyanka Sharma

New Delhi | October 18, 2019 3:11:36 PM IST
With two weeks to go for Diwali, the air quality in the national capital has started to deteriorate. On Friday, air quality forecast remained between 200 to 300 levels at various locations in Delhi.

Health experts are saying that air pollution in Delhi is a public health emergency and worse is yet to come.

Dr Arvind Kumar, head of the respiratory department at Sir Ganga Ram hospital said that Diwali hasn't come yet and even then the air pollution levels are rising. There is no significant change in the trend.

"Even today, Delhi's air pollution levels are touching 200 to 300 levels which is very hazardous. The Odd-Even scheme of Delhi government will not bring much improvement in the quality of air because major chunk exempted vehicles will contribute to poor air quality," he said.

"I would appeal people not to burst any kind of crackers as even though they are green crackers but anything which is explosive, generates toxic substance. If people are made aware of the seriousness of the issue, they will not only accept the measures but will also actively contribute towards solutions," he added.

Kumar further stated that his hospital is already seeing patients complaining of breathing illness, a trend which is set to increase in the coming days.

Studies have indicated that air pollution is causing people many chronic breathing issues, stroke and heart diseases. Across the world, it is leading to over seven million premature deaths.

Dr Vikash Maurya, Head of Respiratory department at Fortis Hospital said: "The fight with air pollution should be continuous with community-driven programmes. Action is very important. Every winter, we talk on the air pollution crisis but there is no major change. There is a slight upsurge in the cases of patients coming for treatment which is surely going to increase post-Diwali."

According to a study by the Indian Council of Medical Research, about 4 lakh deaths in India in 2017 were due to air pollution, which included 6.7 lakh deaths due to outdoor particulate matter air pollution and 4.8 lakh deaths due to household air pollution.

The highest PM2.5 exposure level was in Delhi, followed by the other north Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Haryana. (ANI)

 
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