As per the national capital reels under ‘heavy pollution’, demand for masks rises up in markets, especially for the N95 Variant, which is generally recommended by doctors. According to government agencies, On Oct 30, the city remained blanketed by a thick haze with its air quality dropping further, largely due to the heavy load of smoke from stubble burning in neighbouring Haryana and Punjab. Twenty-seven of the 37 air quality monitoring stations across National Capital recorded the Air Quality Index (AQI) in the “severe” category.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Monish, “The demand for masks has gone up”, owner of Neelkanth Chemists in east Delhi’s Dilshad Garden, remarked. “People have been asking mostly for the N95 face masks as suggested by experts,”. While Proprietors at Aggarwal Medicos in Greater Kailash asserted that, most of the people are purchasing N95 masks, cost of which ranges from Rs 200 to Rs 2000, depending on company to company.
Schools in Delhi-NCR have advised parents to send their children for classes wearing masks and shift outdoor activities indoors to deal with the pollution. Besides, owners of electronics equipment stores in Dilshad Garden, stated several customers are also asking for air purifiers for their homes and offices.
Dr Vijay Dutt of internal medicine at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre remarked that, Post Diwali, Delhi’s air becomes more hazardous to inhale and the pollutants will harm everyone, but most vulnerable are asthma patients, pregnant women, the elderly and children. “Some of the precautionary methods would be to wear a mask while going outside and the right mask needs to be worn. I would advice to avoid surgical and comfort masks as it don’t allow proper respiratory protection. A respirator that is rated N95/N99/FFP3 or is “NIOSH approved” filters out more and should be used”, The PTI News agency reported.
As per data from the Central Pollution Control Board, The overall AQI oscillated between 410 and 420 during the day. The city’s pollution levels peaked at 2 am on Oct 30, touching the 423 mark. Notably, CM Mr Arvind Kejriwal on Oct 30, asserted that the Delhi government will start distributing masks among school students from Friday following a spike in the pollution level, Fifty lakh N95 masks would be given to students in both government and private schools in Delhi, he asserted on Oct 30.
On Oct 29, the World Health Organisation (WHO) assumed that air pollution kills 7 million people each year. Nine out of 10 people across the world breathe air that has been polluted by traffic emissions, industry, agriculture and waste incineration. It also stated that one-third of deaths from heart attack, stroke, lung cancer and chronic respiratory diseases are due to air pollution. Pregnant women need to be very careful as exposure to air pollution can prove to be an obstacle in the growth of a foetus.
According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), Ten areas in Delhi recorded severe air quality while 23 areas recorded very poor air quality. Regional factors such as stubble burning contributed to 22% of pollution in the national capital. However, India’s capital city is suffering through with poor air quality since the last few years. In early November 2016, the AQI measurements were as high as 900s in some areas. Hence, The ‘government’ needs to quickly frame air purifier standards and motivate healthy living by controlling all major sources of air pollution.
Author: Trilok Singh, Currently Studies Masters in Mass Communication & Journalism at International School of Media and Entertainment Studies, News 24 Campus. MA in Political Science, Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi.