New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday (November 7), directed the Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan governments to immediately put a cap on the stubble burning by the farmers in the state, citing it as one of the largest contributors to air pollution. The judges also flagged crop residue burning, vehicular pollution, and burning of waste in the open as contributors to the rising levels of air pollution. Following this, the top court further directed the Delhi government to ensure that municipal solid waste is not burned in the city as it happens.
The two-judge bench said,
Stubble burning must go. It is not the only contributor, but it is a substantial one.
Paddy straw burning in Punjab and Haryana is considered one of the major reasons behind the alarming spike in air pollution levels in the national capital in October and November.
Deteriorating Air Quality Levels In The Neighbouring States
The air quality levels in Delhi have been oscillating between ‘very poor’ to ‘severe’ category for more than a week. The concentration of PM2.5 (particulate matter) has exceeded the government-prescribed safe limit of 60 micrograms per cubic metre by seven to eight times in the capital. Its PM2.5 levels were 30 to 40 times the healthy limit of 15 micrograms per cubic metre set by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to the news agency ANI.
Apart from Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh have also reported hazardous air quality. In Punjab, Bathinda reported an AQI of 385, followed by Ludhiana 301, Jalandhar 291, Mandi Gobindgarh 277, Amritsar 264, Khanna 265, and Patiala 247. In Uttar Pradesh, Ghaziabad recorded an AQI of 338, Gurugram 364, Noida 348, Greater Noida 439, and Faridabad 382.
Residents in Delhi and surrounding areas in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab states experienced some of the filthiest air in the world in the last week, according to a report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
Health Effects Of Air Pollution
The air pollution has a huge cost to health. Dr. Vivek Nangia, Principal Director and Head of Pulmonology at Max Super Speciality Hospital, talked about the short-term and long-term effects of air pollution:
– People may experience irritation and tear duct issues in the eyes due to exposure to high levels of air pollution.
– Cold coughs, sore throats, foreign body sensations, chest tightness, breathlessness, wheezing, and headaches are some of the impacts of air pollution on the health of adults.
– The long-term impacts of air pollution include asthma and various types of cancer.
– Air pollution can lead to premature deaths, various types of cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), interstitial lung disease (a group of about 100 chronic lung disorders), respiratory infections, heart attacks, diabetes, and brain strokes, among others.
– Children could develop respiratory allergies such as bronchial asthma, respiratory tract infections such as tuberculosis (TB), cognitive dysfunctions, poor lung functions, and neuropsychiatric behavioural issues such as headaches and mental retardation.
Precautions To Adhere To Amid Rising Air Pollution Levels
– Restrict physical movements as much as possible, except during an emergency.
– Wear a mask while travelling; prefer N95.
– Avoid using personal vehicles to reduce their contribution to vehicular emissions, one of the major contributors to rising air pollution levels.
– The asthmatic patients must be more vigilant at this time and be particular about taking prescribed medications and using inhale
(With inputs from PTI)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.