Air pollution is neither a pretty sight for your eyes nor for your lungs. The blanket of smog which has emerged in popular metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata is certainly a cause for alarm. Did you know that kolkata just recorded the lowest air quality ever, yesterday? And it is bound to get worse in the following months if no precautionary measures are taken.
The measured PM 2.5 levels in kolkata were twice as bad as Delhi’s and thrice as bad as Mumbai’s. A European satellite image captured the pollution levels in India and categorized Delhi and Kolkata having ‘high’ to ‘severe’ pollution levels. This means that Kolkata has recently climbed up the charts to become one of the most polluted cities in India and naturally triggered a warning from WHO (World Health Organization).
An air quality check that was carried out in Delhi recently revealed that PM 2.5, had reached an extremely high level. PM 2.5, is particulate matter 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, an air pollutant which is a serious concern for people’s health. PM 2.5 is dangerous because these fine, small and light particles are able to travel deeply into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs. Exposure to such fine particles can cause short term effects like eye, throat or skin irritation and allergies. Long term exposure can aggravate medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease and even affect lung health. The safe levels of PM 2.5 are 35 ug/m3(micrograms per cubic metre) as a short-term standard and 15 ug/m3 as a long-term standard, anything beyond 60 ug/m3 is considered highly dangerous. Across several different locations in delhi, the PM 2.5 levels registered between 419 and 500 units. That’s almost 20 times higher than the permissible limits!
Why is this happening?
The smoke from vehicles like bikes, cars, trucks, buses, the gases released from power plants and emissions from burning wood, oil, coal and other natural sources, all contain PM 2.5 fine particles in them. Kolkata is known as India’s diesel capital and diesel car fume is the largest contributor of fine particles in the air. The smog made up of these fine particles gets worse during winters because of temperature inversion where cold air is trapped at the ground with warm air on top. The pollutants trapped in the cold air can’t escape and cause the air to appear hazy, unlike summer mornings and evenings.
How does it harm us?
The PM 2.5 fine particles are so small that they are just a fraction of the size of a hair strand. Because of this extremely small size, they can easily travel into the respiratory tract and reach the lungs.
The health effects due to this can range from throat and lung irritation, constant sneezing, shortness of breath to heart disease, extreme asthma, chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function and even lung cancer in kids.
Babies and young children are more susceptible to the adverse effects of air pollution because of their immature immune system, long periods of time they spend outdoors and their still developing respiratory system. The PM 2.5 particles are also extremely harmful to children’s developing brains as they damage the brain structure and neural networks. A research says that kids who reside in polluted areas and have more exposure to PM 2.5 particles have shown significant behavioral changes like aggressiveness, impulsive nature and appeared to be triggered and irritated by seemingly harmless situations.
A report from CSE (Center for science environment) says that around 30% of premature deaths in India are due to air pollution and that every third child in polluted cities like delhi is bound to have improper lung functioning.
Few studies also relate the pollution (both air and noise) from road-traffic to birth defects like low birth weight, abnormal head circumference, aortic and valve defects because of the toxic air the mom would’ve inhaled during pregnancy.
/What can you do?
If you’ve been thinking about just staying indoors and avoiding everything that comes with going out and breathing the toxic air, we’re afraid that’s not much of a safe option either. It’s not just the outdoor sources that contribute to the pollution, but many sources of air pollution in your home as well. What about the fumes emitted when you cook, or the air fresheners and sprays? Yes, they contribute to indoor air pollution. Similarly, chemical cleaners, detergents, burning lamps and candles etc all contribute to it too.
These are inevitable daily things that may be difficult to completely avoid but there is a solution to making sure your indoor air quality is safe for you and your family: Investing in an air purifier which has filters that help remove the contaminants from the air in a closed environment.
We recommend Dr. Aeroguard air purifier which is equipped with several filters like Anti-allergen filter, Anti-dust filter, Advanced HEPA filter and therapeutic filter which all work towards removing the dust particles in the air and fills your air with the goodness of Vitamin C. It releases Vita-ions which make the air refreshing and healthy for you to breathe. Experience what healthy air feels like, right at the comfort of your home by signing up for a free home demo and click here to get your very own Dr. Aeroguard air purifier.
Breathing clean air is not a luxury but a need for a human being, so why not make sure that the air your family is breathing in the house (where they spend most of their time in) is healthy?