New Delhi: As the toxicity levels in Delhi’s air quality is increasing, health experts have warned of respiratory illnesses, especially among people with heart and lung diseases.

On Tuesday morning, the national capital’s Air Quality Index was recorded at 339 under the “very poor” category, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

Speaking to IANS, Professor Gufran Beig, Founder Project Director of SAFAR, said that the current ratio of PM2.5 to PM10 is above 60 per cent which indicates that fine particles are high in abundance and hence a relatively high level of toxicity is prevailing.

“The worsening air quality in Delhi is mainly due to the persistent fog and falling temperatures. The contribution of advective fog which generates over the entire Indo-Gangetic region and brings parcels of toxic particles along is high. Normally contribution of finer particles, PM2.5, which are more toxic, remains below 50 per cent in PM10”, Prof Beig told IANS.

He said the fact that the ratio of PM2.5 to PM10 is above 60 per cent, this days indicates that fine particles are high in abundance and hence relatively high level of toxicity is prevailing which has more serious health implications as these can be easily inhaled.

The “very poor” category AQI may trigger health complications like problems in breathing.

People with heart and lung disease are advised to avoid longer or heavy exertion.

Health experts have advised that even indoor activities must be kept to a minimum for those suffering with sensitive issues.

Commenting on the deteriorating air quality, Dr Harshal Salve, Additional Professor, Centre for Community medicine at AIIMS, said that the prolonged exposure to such toxic air could lead to serious problems apart from the respiratory issues.

“Those persons suffering with COPD and other respiratory disease must use the N95 mask while going outside and outdoor export,” said Dr Salve.

Emphasising on the outdoor activities should immediately be stopped, he said that everyone should avoid going outside from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. as the concentration level of pollutants remain on peak during the period.

Dr Shuchin Bajaj, Founder-Director Ujala Cygnus, said that pollution kills more than 9 million people every year and causes economic loses worth trillions of dollars which is more than 7 per cent of the total world’s GDP, “but we keep focusing more on other diseases like cancer and heart disease etc”.

“We should not forget that pollution is one of the biggest causes of lung cancer, heart disease and various other diseases and it should to combated at national as well as local level. And we need to make sure that our cites which are some of most polluted in the world get free from this biggest pandemic which is much bigger than Covid,” Dr Bajaj said.


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