18.09.2021

Breathing in New Delhi’s smog is equivalent to smoking

Caused by a combination of low winds, exhaust fumes and farm fires, the city’s inhabitants are breathing in air reaching 1,000 on the US embassy air quality index, with anything more than just 25 being considered dangerous.

Breathing in New Delhi’s deadly smog crisis is equivalent to smoking 44 cigarettes a day as the city remains under a ‘pollution siege’ for a fourth consecutive day.

Yet despite the national emergency, which has caused eerie, martian-like conditions, previously closed schools have reopened amid exam concerns, sparking outrage as vulnerable children battle breathlessness, chest pain and burning eyes.

Particles circulating in the polluted air are small enough to lodge deep into people’s lungs where they can be passed to other organs and cause serious health problems, with children being most at risk.

Youngsters have been seen struggling to breathe on the way to school as the Indian Government is accused of ‘playing with children’s health’.

Breathing in New Delhi’s deadly smog crisis is equivalent to smoking 44 cigarettes a day.

Previously closed schools have reopened amid exam concerns, sparking resident outrage.

Vulnerable children battle breathlessness, chest pain and burning eyes en route to school.

POLLUTION LINKED TO KIDNEY, BLADDER AND BOWEL CANCER

Air pollution has been linked to kidney and bladder cancer.

A groundbreaking study led by the Barcelona Institute of Global Health revealed microscopic ‘PM 2.5’ particles from car exhausts can raise someone’s risk of dying from kidney or bladder cancer by almost 15 per cent.

People living near busy roads, particularly those exposed to nitrogen dioxide from diesel cars, see their risk of death from bowel cancer rise by six per cent.

Pollution in British towns and cities are linked to around 40,000 premature deaths a year, with heart disease and stroke being the biggest causes.

‘They are playing with children’s health’

As well as banning construction and trucks from entering the capital, schools in New Delhi were also closed last week but reopened today amid exam concerns.

Ashok Agrawal, president of the All India Parents Association, said: ‘On one hand the government is saying there is a health emergency and on the other they are playing with children’s health.

‘It is so disturbing to see children coughing and struggling to breathe all the way to the school.

‘It is a fact that children are particularly vulnerable and more affected by pollution than adults.’

Children are considered more vulnerable as they breathe in more air in proportion to their body weight.

‘I feel suffocated’

Many of the city’s residents are unable to afford protective masks or air purifiers and are instead relying on handkerchiefs to lessen the smog’s effect.

As well as causing health concerns, reduced visibility has also resulted in canceled trains, delayed planes and multiple traffic accidents, including cars being piled into each other.

Writing on Twitter, Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, described the city as ‘a gas chamber’.

Swati Kashyap, a student, said: ‘My eyes are tearing up from the smoke and I feel suffocated,’ CNN reported.

Particles circulating in the polluted air are small enough to lodge deep into people’s lungs. The Indian Government has been accused of ‘playing with children’s health’.

Why is the pollution so severe?

Delhi, which was declared the world’s most polluted capital in 2014, often experiences worse pollution in winter as farmers burn crop leftovers after harvest.

Cooler temperatures also trap particles closer to the ground, preventing them from dispersing.

This is expected to improve as winds pick up this week.

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