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Parts of Delhi and the national capital region witnessed shallow fog as humidity levels oscillated between 9% and 41%.
By 10 AM, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recorded ‘severe’ air quality, meaning the intensity of pollution was extreme.
Just a few weeks later, the air quality deteriorated further due to unabated crop burning practices in Haryana and Punjab, despite green bodies pulling up the state government to administer strict monitoring.
In light of the sudden dip, measures under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) such as a four time hike in parking fees may be rolled out by the Supreme Court – Mandated Environment Pollution Prevention and control Authority.
If the situation deteriorates further and persists for at least 48 hours, the task force under the GRAP will mull shutting schools and enforcing the odd-even car rationing scheme.
The last time air has turned ‘Severe’ was on October 20, a day after Diwali Festivities, when firecrackers were set off. The air quality index was very severe with high participate matter at a 2.5 level at many places.
Air pollution poses a major health risk and can cause stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and chronic and acute respiratory diseases. According to the WHO, 92% of the world’s population lives in areas where the air quality is below the WHO standards. About 88% of premature deaths occur in the low-and middle-income countries, where air pollution is escalating at an alarming rate.
A ‘Very Poor’ AQL comes with the warning that people may develop respiratory illness on prolonged exposure to ‘Severe’ air affects healthy people and seriously impacts whose with existing respiratory or cardiovascular diseases.
The CPCB has said high moisture level in the air has trapped emission from local sources and hanging low over the city in the absence of wind.
Air pollution in India is turning out to be a downright menace with pollutants in the air becoming more and more aggressive with each passing day. As the National Capital region witnesses an increased toxicity in the air, it is gradually enlarging the radar of threat upon the population.
We have to use some preventive measures as a remedy against air pollution.
- People should avoid going outdoors along with doing physical activities like cycling and jogging.
- N95 masks should be used if necessary to go out.
- Air purifying plants such as aloe-Vera, ivy and spider plant can be placed at home or in the office.
- Consume fruits rich in Vitamin C, magnesium and foods rich in omega fatty acids.
- Avoid strenuous activity, as they may lead to inhalation of minute pollutions.
- Drink adequate amount of water as it helps in flushing toxins from the body.
- Avoid using main roads. It has been observed that pollution drops when you walk in lanes away from the main roads.
- Use nasal filters or air purifiers, which helps in-short term relief.
Thus at last we must say ‘Let them (people) not die with fog, before nature.’