Each year, even as the country gears up to celebrate the festive season and the year-end, the national capital region, Delhi NCR, turns into a veritable gas chamber. The soaring air pollution levels cause untold misery to the people of the capital and the surrounding areas. Much has been said and done about the smog and the drastic increase in particulate matter in Delhi, particularly between October and December but it is important to understand the reasons and take action to protect ourselves.
A look at the AQI
To understand how dire the condition is, let us take a look at Delhi's air quality index (AQI) right after the Diwali festival (2019). The air quality index is a gauge of the levels of the PM2.5 particulate matter in the air. When the AQI is 0-50 it is a good reading, when 51 - 100 it is satisfactory, and between 101-200 is moderate. Most of Delhi recorded AQI over 425 which is considered to be a "severe" emergency. In some parts of the city, the AQI went up to 700 and the toxic haze that shrouded the city made it difficult for children, senior citizens, and patients to breathe. Ghaziabad, Noida, and Faridabad recorded an AQI over 430.
Reasons for the toxic air situation
Here are some of the top reasons behind the soaring pollution levels in Delhi NCR -
- Approximately 35 million tonnes of crops are set on fire in the farmlands surrounding the national capital. This releases smoke, dust, and contaminants in the air.
- Vehicular pollution is one of the greatest contaminants in Delhi. Vehicular emissions add to the carbon monoxide levels in Delhi air.
- The use of crackers and fireworks over Diwali and the wedding season (despite the ban) is a major contributing factor for the build-up of smog.
- Large scale construction and factory emissions also contribute to the high levels of toxicity in Delhi air.
What can we do to reduce air pollution
- Spread awareness about the hazards of setting crops on fire. Join NGOs and action groups that help the rural community find different methods of crop disposal.
- Use carpools and public transport as much as possible. Keep your vehicle in ship shape and minimize pollution.
- Do not buy or burst firecrackers. Use electric lights to brighten up your home over the festive season.
- Follow all government advisories and guidelines to curb air pollution.
How to protect yourself
- Avoid going out and indulging in outdoor activities particularly when the AQI levels are very high.
- Avoid smoking and burning garbage or leaves from your garden.
- Use an indoor air purifier wherever possible.
- Always use a 3M N95 anti-pollution face mask when outdoors.
- Avoid areas where a lot of construction work is being undertaken. Avoid arterial roads with heavy traffic when possible.
- Consume a healthy diet rich in Vitamin C, Omega fatty acids, and minerals. These contain antioxidants that help in boosting immunity.
To protect yourself from the toxic air pollution of Delhi, you can buy anti-pollution masks online from the Smart Medical Buyer website. We ensure delivery within 24 hours of purchase(Delhi/NCR). Regular use of these masks is the best way to protect yourself and your family.