DUSIB to dis­trib­ute masks to com­bat air pol­lu­tion

Millennium Post - - City - OUR COR­RE­SPON­DENT

NEW DELHI: As part of a pi­lot project, the Delhi Ur­ban Shel­ter Im­prove­ment Board (DUSIB) will dis­trib­ute air pol­lu­tion masks from next week to those who are es­pe­cially vul­ner­a­ble or are al­ready suf­fer­ing from res­pi­ra­tory con­di­tions.

Bipin Rai, mem­ber DUSIB said, “Ini­tially we will be look­ing to dis­trib­ute air pol­lu­tion masks to those with pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions like tu­ber­cu­lo­sis or res­pi­ra­tory dis­eases who are more vul­ner­a­ble. Later, we will ex­pand.”

Rai added that DUSIB had writ­ten to the gov­ern­ment’s health depart­ment to pro­vide the masks.

Last year, the Lancet med­i­cal jour­nal found that out of the six deaths world­wide, one was due to pol­lu­tion. Be­sides, the dis­eases caused by pol­lu­tion were re­spon­si­ble for an es­ti­mated 9 mil­lion pre­ma­ture deaths, which is three times more than death caused by tu­ber­cu­lo­sis and malaria com­bined.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, In­dia had the du­bi­ous dis­tinc­tion of hav­ing the most pol­lu­tion-re­lated deaths in the world with 2.5 mil­lion peo­ple dy­ing early due to pol­lu­tion, which ac­counts for a to­tal of 28 per cent of global deaths.

The re­port had un­der­lined an­other key fac­tor, that is, in the most se­verely af­fected coun­tries, “pol­lu­tion-re­lated dis­ease is re­spon­si­ble for more than one death in four.”

In 2015, in In­dia, 92 per cent of pol­lu­tion-re­lated deaths oc­curred in the mid­dle or low­in­come groups.

A se­nior of­fi­cial of the Delhi gov­ern­ment said, “This is some­thing that we have been aware of. The Delhi gov­ern­ment pro­vides med­i­cal aid to the home­less and in the win­ters and when pol­lu­tion spikes, we have come across a pat­tern of symp­toms that con­firm that there is a mas­sive health im­pact due to air pol­lu­tion.”

The symp­toms such as breath­less­ness, res­pi­ra­tory dis­tress, headaches, sting­ing eyes, cough­ing and in more se­ri­ous cases dam­aged lungs – all tally with what the lat­est re­search equates with long-term ex­po­sure to poor air.

Ex­plain­ing the ex­tent of the prob­lem, Ra­makant Ya­dav, a home­less man who works at a traf­fic sig­nal dur­ing the day and sleeps at a night-shel­ter in Ya­muna Pushta, said, “We in­hale fumes all day, sum­mer or win­ter. But dur­ing the colder months, it gets es­pe­cially bad and most of us fall sick and as a re­sult can’t work. Those days, we end up los­ing en­tire day of work and go hun­gry as a re­sult.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.