Docs say it’s like a death sentence!
YOGESH Kumar wheezes after life-saving surgery to remove a diseased lung, but his doctors wonder how long he can last outside hospital breathing some of the world's dirtiest air. Smog is blamed for the deaths of more than one million Indians every year and Delhi -- which on Monday had emergency pollution levels more than 35 times the World Health Organization safe limit -has the worst air of any global capital. Every November, hospital wards fill with gasping patients as the tell-tale thick grey haze which hit on Monday shrouds the city of 20 million.
Delhi air is like a death sentence for him, said Srinivas K. Gopinath, a thoracic surgeon at Sir Ganga Ram hospital in the Indian capital where 29-year-old Kumar was treated. Gopinath fears for his patient, who survived tuberculosis but is now at the mercy of another invisible killer. As cooler air traps pollutants close to the ground, Delhi's levels of PM2.5 -- particles so tiny they can enter the lungs and bloodstream -soar dangerously.
One of the worst times is around the festival of Diwali as smoke from millions of crackers set off by festive revellers mingles with car exhaust, factory emissions, construction dust and smoke from crop fires in nearby states. Pollution readings can reach so high they do not register on scientific instruments. In the Anand Vihar suburb, the PM2.5 level rocketed to 908 on Monday. The WHO sets 25 as its recommended average safe level. Kumar is due to be discharged from hospital around the time of the festival on Wednesday. Inside (the hospital) the air quality is maintained, but once he steps out the bad air will start affecting him,
Children are suffering the most from Delhi's smog
Gopinath told AFP. His resistance is weak. He has only one lung which is now really precious. Imagine having to cope up with such bad air with only one lung.
But Kumar is far from alone. Children, the elderly and those with respiratory ailments like asthma suffer the most from Delhi's smog, which lingers until late February. Exposure to toxic air kills hundreds of thousands of children every year, the WHO said in an October report. Children breathe more rapidly than adults, taking twice as much polluted air into their tiny bodies. AFP