Environmental pollution has come to stay! It has become part and parcel of our life. To put it precisely, nature is fast vanishing! We are only directly responsible for this destruction. To cite an example, the Air Quality Index parameter reveals that our capital New Delhi has crossed 400 mark in terms of air pollution. It is said that 150 mark itself is fairly dangerous in causing adverse effects to our health and no doubt that 400 mark is pretty deadly in nature. Constructing buildings near the rivers, use of plastics, transport emissions etc. are chiefly responsible for this trend. Such a trend is not restricted to Delhi only; rather, it is fast spreading in other States also.
* Currently, the global index reveals that a large number of human beings die due to breathing difficulty. In United States, people’s death due to breathing ranks three next only to heart ailment and cancer. At Asia level, 65% of the people die because of breathing problem while in India, the death rate due to breathing issue stands at 25%.
* According to World Health Organization (WHO) data, nearly 4.6 Mn (46 lakhs) people die due to breathing problem out of which 5,27,700 are from India. It is further observed that 80% of the lung diseases are caused by the pollution created by the emission let out by cars, buses and lorries.
* Times of India conducted a survey on the total number of vehicle population in cities in the year 2015. According to that, every year records 2 lac vehicles more on the roads. In the year 2015, 29.83 lac vehicles were registered out of which 22.5 lac were two wheelers, 5.26 lac were cars, 45,500 were autos and 67,000 were vans.
* According to WHO report, highly polluted cities in the ranking of 13 to 20 are from India only.
* In Delhi alone, nearly 44 Lacs (50%) children are affected by lung diseases, caused by air pollution. Yet another report given by Health Effects Institute states that from 1990 to 2015, the percentage of death rate due to lung diseases has risen to 150% approximately.
Lung specialist Dr.Jayaraman explains how we can be actually affected by this air pollution and the preventive measures to be taken by us in order to protect us against this problem.
The prime cause of air pollution is undue emission of carbon-monoxide from the two-wheeler and four-wheeler that we use. The fact is that in certain foreign countries it is very difficult to buy the four wheeler but whereas in India almost each individual household possesses one vehicle or the other. Moreover, the fuel that we use releases maximum carbon-monoxide as we do not have the one that could release less of this harmful emission. This inevitable harmful emission aggravates the air pollution still more in India. Because of this condition, it affects our health both during summer and winter seasons. During summer, it mixes with heat air and affects us. During winter, this harmful and poisonous air gets stuck in air and it is unable to go up; instead it stays with cold air and continues to harm us for long.
This environmental destruction is bound to cause lung or throat infection, tumours, pneumonia, lung attack, chest ailment, lung cancer etc. including inability to breathe comfortably. As already stated, breathing problem takes the third place towards cause of death next to heart attack and cancer. Apart from health issues, it will result in natural calamities also such as acid rain which will create massive water shortage for people. On top of all, we will be getting only highly polluted water which will not be potable.
Industrial wastes, garbage and the poisonous gas emitted by industries are highly harmful. People who work there should observe necessary preventive and protective measures available in the factories. If they fail to follow these guidelines, it will lead to cancer disease.
Vehicle emission is a potent threat for everyone. Unless and otherwise each and every one of us take it as a personal responsibility, we cannot easily solve this issue. Whenever and wherever possible, people should use public transport by reducing the usage of their personal vehicles.
Wearing a mask while going in traffic is a ‘must’. If mask is not available, people should use at least their handkerchief so as to avoid the polluted air. Additionally, those who wear helmet must necessarily wear the mask.
Above all, burning of garbage near residential areas must be totally banned. Excess garbage disposal by burning is the main cause for high environmental pollution in Delhi.
People who live in highly congested places should learn to spend some time in slowly breathing in a calm atmosphere. Inhalation and exhalation must be done properly through both the nostrils in order to protect their lungs better.
Air pollution is not an individual problem but for the entire society. Initial breathing difficulty will subsequently lead to total inability to breathe and result in asthma. Those who continue to live amidst such air pollution should consult a doctor periodically and undergo necessary health check-up. People, in general, owe two specific responsibilities, viz. a) to take necessary precautions to protect their health and b) to take care of their surroundings as far as possible by not causing any environmental problem whatsoever.
We must learn to respect nature that protects and promotes our well-being.
(This article written in Tamil by J Nivetha has been reproduced in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)