There is a new Silent Killer in town; and no it’s not Stress. The heavily polluted air in New Delhi is being commonly referenced to as the silent killer, from premature deaths and underweight kids to an increase in arthritis and strokes being some of its tell-tale signs. With the incoming of winter, a thick layer of smog is normal for the locals in Delhi, and the spurt in respiratory diseases that accompanies it.
From the year 2007 until 2012, there was a study conducted in Sri Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH) that examined over ten thousand births that took place there to understand the link between air pollution and the births taking place in the capital. Maternal and neonatal data was collected and linked to the air pollution statistics based on the distance to the closest monitoring station for air.
But the results of the study were far more alarming; the toxic air in Delhi is shrinking newborns with the air not only causing premature births but also harming the fetus. In 2017, a study by Lancet confirmed the finding of the SGRH study by stating that over half a million Indians died in 2015 prematurely due to high particulate matter (PM) at 2.5. With the Indian Medical Association (IMA) declaring a public health emergency in New Delhi due to hazardous pollution levels, warnings have been issued asking people to avoid outdoor activities like running and cycling.
Air pollution can lead to extreme health diseases in the heart, lungs, chronic and acute respiratory problems and even strokes. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that over ninety percent of the population of the world lives in extremely poor air quality with eighty-eight percent of premature deaths taking place in these places that are mainly low income nations with an alarming air pollution rate. Being one of the most harmful components of air pollution, PM can settle in lungs and get absorbed into blood streams. The director of AIIMS has stated that air pollution has become a silent killer with people suffering from already present cardiovascular and respiratory problems getting worse off.
Till now no study has been conducted in India to find the exact number of deaths that have been caused by air pollution. While that stands true, the government and other NGOs and IGOs have already issued statements in public interest asking citizens to follow certain preventive measures. These include asking people to limit their outdoor activities like jogging, running and cycling. Air pollution masks are being bought at a high rate with some NGOs even distributing them freely in schools. It I recommended that households should invest in air purifiers but if they cannot, they should have air purifying plants like aloe vera, ivy and spider plant can be kept in houses and offices. Try to have chimneys or exhausts installed in the kitchen to avoid indoor air pollution and consume fruits and foods rich in magnesium, omega fatty acids and vitamin C. Consume herbal and tulsi-ginger tea.
By Eerishika Pankaj