Cracker pollution effect may persist for yrs: Docs

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Cracker pollution effect may persist for yrs: Docs

Saturday, 10 November 2018 | SUGANDHA | NEW DELHI

The bursting of crackers might be a matter of some hours but it takes weeks, months and sometimes years to completely wash away the effects of pollution from one’s body, doctors said.

On Thursday, Delhi found itself engulfed with layer of smog post Diwali celebrations. The presence of heavy pollutants in air remained the same on Friday, though Air Quality Index (AQI) showed improvement as it stood at 430 in comparison to 642 on Thursday.  

“People say that bursting crackers is a matter of hours but the effects it causes remains for weeks, months, years or in some people for lifetime as the people who have already been operated and healed are coming back to the hospitals,” said Dr Arvind Kumar, Founder Trustee, Lung Care Foundation, Chairman — Centre for Chest Surgery, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

According to Dr Kumar, two patients operated by him in the past were on Thursday admitted to different hospitals in Delhi because of rising levels of toxins in the air.

“I operated two patients sometime back but on Thursday morning their relatives came running to the hospital informing me that they have been admitted to the hospitals nearby their houses in condition of emergency,” he said.

Similarly, Dr Ambuj Roy, Professor of Cardiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) informed that the cases of breathlessness, acute asthma and other breathing problems have gone up by 20 per cent.

“This season, we have seen approximately 20 per cent rise in respiratory ailments such as asthma attacks, blood pressure related problems and heart attacks. Though it is difficult to say that all of them are due to pollution but one thing is sure that more people are developing the diseases now,” said Dr Roy.

On Thursday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi had entered ‘severe’ category post Diwali after it was recorded at 574 which contained increased levels of Sulphur and Carbon among others.

“Inhalation of these toxins can lead to mental retardation in children apart from causing diseases like asthma, lung cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) found usually in chain smokers. In short term, it leads to sore throat, breathlessness and restlessness,” said Dr Arvind Kumar.

As per Dr Roy, elderly, children, already sick patients, new born babies and pregnant women are more prone to the adverse effects of these toxins.

While the effects are more prevalent in these groups, young people in Delhi also complained about breathlessness. There were many who could be seen wearing masks on Friday to avoid inhalation of toxins in the city’s air. 

 “On Thursday morning I checked the AQI in my area, it was 1079. I was shocked. When I went out of my house, I could feel the breathlessness. I couldn’t breathe and returned to my house. Immediately, my throat and head started to ache. It however improved a Friday but the very smell of the air was enough to suggest it was highly polluted,” said Meghashri Raj Gautam, a resident of East Delhi. The visibility was also very low, she added.

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