From using air purifiers to backpacking, what all Delhi-NCR residents are doing to cope with toxic air
A recent survey found that 70% of the Delhi-NCR residents are already facing health issues due to poor air quality; 27% respondents said they are planning to get away from Delhi-NCR for a few weeks
Poor air quality is having a toll on people’s health as a recent survey has found that 70 per cent of the respondents have one or more family members who have been suffering due to the poor air quality.
Of those surveyed by Local Circles, 70 per cent of the Delhi-NCR residents are already facing health issues due to the air turning toxic, while 72 per cent of the families are already using or contemplating safety measures to minimise impact of the polluted air.
Close to 27 per cent respondents indicated that they planned to leave the city for some period during the next three weeks.
With the Air Quality Index (AQI) sliding to the dangerous 500 mark in many parts of the National Capital Region, people with respiratory ailments are bound to feel worse.
At least 30 percent indicated “elderly parents/ grandparents at home” were already impacted; in 10 per cent families, school going children were feeling unwell; 20 per cent respondents are themselves impacted due to their health conditions; there are another 10 per cent respondents who indicated that they were not feeling well though they had no pre-existing medical conditions.
The share of stubble burning in Delhi’s PM 2.5 pollution rose to 26 per cent on Sunday, the highest this year so far, amid an increase in farm fires and favourable conditions for transport of emissions to Delhi-NCR.
PM2.5 are fine particles that are 2.5 microns or less in diameter and can travel deep into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs and entering the bloodstream.
On Friday, over 2,000 farm fires were detected in Punjab alone. These incidents of stubble burning in Punjab and states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh serves as a key driver for pollution and toxic air in Delhi-NCR. Other contributors include vehicular pollution, pollution due to crackers during Diwali.
On Saturday, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM)in NCR stated that the overall air quality over Delhi is likely to fluctuate between very poor to severe category in the coming days.
When asked about the measures being undertaken to cope with the deteriorating air quality in the next three weeks, 21 per cent respondents indicated they would use air purifiers at home, 14 per cent are planning to increase consumption of immunity boosting food and 9 per cent indicated they would use anti-pollution masks.
It should be noted that only one in three households has an air purifier and majority will rely just on a mask or some immunity boosting foods or both.
Seven per cent respondents said they did not plan to do anything as the toxic air quality didn’t bother them or they don’t want to use all these measures.
Many families who have senior citizens or those with young children stated that they would try to get away from Delhi-NCR to escape from the toxic air. At least 27 per cent of the respondents indicated that they plan to get away from Delhi-NCR for a week or a fortnight or at least a few days.
However, more than half the respondents (55%) shared that they have no plans to travel.
The survey received over 26,000 responses from residents of Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurugram and Faridabad. Of the respondents, 65 per cent were men and 35 per cent were women.