If You Live in Delhi
Regardless of how much time you spend outdoors or indoors, ozone molecules and microscopic bundles of nitrogen oxides flow down your trachea and into your chest, where some become lodged. Some of these particles can give you lung cancer, while some may enter your bloodstream and inflame the old injuries – especially on the joints. Breathing in Delhi means you are consistently exposing yourself to airborne detritus that puts you in danger of contracting bronchitis, asthma, lungs infection and even hypertension and dementia. The filth in the air is not always visible. However, one small ride in an auto rickshaw will have you experience vehicular fumes washing over your face and a dark layer that coats the inside of your nose.
Basically, with every breath you take in Delhi, regardless of how mindful or oblivious you are of the poison that’s filling your lungs, the risk of suffering a stroke or a heart attack increases. In 2013, as per WHO, the Indian capital averaged 153 micrograms per cubic metre of PM2.5 (tiny, toxic particles that lead to respiratory diseases, lung cancer and heart attacks), which is 15 times more than the average annual exposure recommended by the organization.
Outdoor air pollution has become India’s fifth highest killer, trailing only behind tobacco, high blood pressurerelated diseases, and road accidents. Sadly, the most vulnerable are children who are born in the city and are exposed to its air ever since their birth, with half of their organs not even developed fully. No study has been done yet to compare the physical and mental strengths of children born and brought up in such polluted cities against those born in healthier environments. However, one can arrive
Problematic Numbers and Air Quality Index
Let us admit this. One of the rooted problems in our country is that we need documented proof of the problem even if we can see and feel it. Alright, the problem needs to be measured, but mere measuring will not help if the problem is so mammoth that it is only increasing with each passing day.
is a ‘ measuring’ initiative of the environment ministry to record levels of air pollution from 37 locations across Delhi. The process started a few months ago and several crores of rupees of public money have been spent. The government now has documented proof (anybody can see the quality of air of each location at http://aqi. iitk.ac.in:9000/). As you will note, there’s hardly a location that shows ‘satisfactory’ levels of air pollution. the pollution level; it only tells you how bad or worse it is.
The varied levels measured on hourly basis from varied locations are summarized into a single number that determines the rating of the air quality for that particular location – along the range of ‘ healthy’ to ‘hazardous’. When Team Consumer Voice randomly checked the levels of each location, it emerged that
Apparently, data from some locations was not being calculated, with
the respective Web page showing an error message: ‘Insufficient data for computing AQI’.
On the other hand, the level of pollution at the locations producing adequate data was mostly above acceptable limits, with some locations even touching the ‘poor’ mark at