IT’S THAT TIME WHEN YOU CAN’T MISS THE MASK
With smog already shrouding the capital, Delhiites brave it all with their pollution masks
When Dehiites start preparing for Diwali, alongwith the diyas, lights and lanterns, it’s also the masks that appear on the shopping lists. This has become a reality since the air quality drops to an all time low during Diwali festivities, due to the cracker bursting and stubble burning in surrounding areas. And the most affordable weapon to fight this demon is an anti-pollution mask.
Owner of a pharmacy store in Khan Market says, “There is a 50% rise in the sale of anti-pollution masks during Diwali, and among all the varieties of masks, vog mask, which has two filters is more saleable. As the air quality worsens, we register a hike in sales. And this time, it is more as compared to that of the last year.”
Some common masks available in the market are N95 and N99, which filters out 95% and 99% of the pollutants.
“Initially, people came asking for a surgical mask. We had to explain to them that a surgical mask doesn’t help. It still happens... Most of the buyers prefer vog mask over other options,” says Rajiv Sharma, a shopkeeper in Gurugram.
The burning of Ravana effigies on Dussehra has been cited as one of the many reasons behind worsened air quality. Another owner of a pharmacy store, in Connaught Place says, “A lot of people called up to ask about the uses of masks, their prices and whether they are washable or not? The price depends on the quality of the filter in the mask, and some of them are washable.”
The bad air quality has made everyone conscious about their health. Tavisha Kapoor, a school student says, “We have been advised to use anti-pollution mask to stay healthy. I strongly believe that we need to be mindful and save the environment.”
Vedant Khare, a first year student of Kamla Nehru College, says, “Irrespective of Diwali, smog levels have risen. Smoke can’t just be felt but can also be seen. Using a mask seems the least that I can do. This is the first time I’ve been affected by pollution so badly. Have had a bad throat and sinus. Masks have become a necessity to keep carbon microparticles from entering my lungs.”