Sun, Dec 11, 2016 | updated 05:50 AM IST

After Diwali, Delhi air quality worsens 12 times higher than safe limit

Updated: Nov 02, 2016 11:28 IST

New Delhi [India], Nov 2 (ANI-NewsVoir): Air pollution in Delhi soared to alarmingly high levels during Diwali celebrations on Sunday. In the capital city and nearby areas in Uttar Pradesh, people woke up to dense smog, with pollution at dangerous "severe" levels in the morning after Diwali.

According to the real-time air quality data monitored, PM2.5 in Delhi went up to 753 micrograms per cubic meters in areas like Pitampura, which is almost 12 times the safe limit of 60 micrograms per cubic meters. Similarly, PM10 stood at 828 micrograms per cubic meters which is also way above the safe limit of 100 micrograms.

"Drastic action needs to be taken by city authorities in Delhi and other major cities to curb air pollution because levels as high as those being seen in the Indian capital aggravate existing health conditions and can trigger respiratory problems, strokes and heart attack," said Girish Bapat, Director - West and South Asia Region at Blueair, a world leader in delivering people clean indoor air with its leading-edge air purifiers.

Girish called for limits on fossil fuel burning, curbs on the use of fireworks during festivals and the creation of congestion-busting measures such as charging motorists to access inner city areas, banning freight vehicles during rush hour periods, creating exclusive bus lanes and building a connected network of superhighway bicycle lanes.

Airborne particles can cause respiratory disease and other bronchial diseases if one is subjected to prolonged exposure to unsafe levels. It is particularly more harmful for the elderly, children and pregnant women.

While the smaller PM2.5 particles impact the lower respiratory system by going deep inside the lungs, the bigger PM10 affects the upper respiratory tract from the nose to windpipe.

A report released by UNICEF on Monday calls on world leaders to reduce air pollution, saying it leads to the deaths of more children yearly than malaria and HIV/AIDS combined. Around 600,000 children under age five die every year from diseases caused by or exacerbated by outdoor and indoor air pollution, especially in poor nations, mentioned in the report titled "Clear the Air for Children."

Bengt Rittri, founder and CEO of Blueair, said, "Blueair firmly endorses UNICEF recommendations such as spurring governments to cut back on fossil fuels, invest in renewable energy resource, improve monitoring and forecasting of air pollution and increase children's access to healthcare."

"In India, we know that children's health is being put at risk every day by unsafe levels of pollution in many of our towns and cities. Pollutants not only harm the developing lungs but are likely to also harm the growth of the children," said Dr. PM Bhujang, President, Association of Hospitals in a statement.

Similarly, according to air quality data monitored in Mumbai, PM2.5 went up to 315 micrograms per cubic meters in areas likeSantacruz which is almost 5 times the safe limit and PM10 stood at 356 micrograms per cubic meters which is about 3 times than the safe limit. (ANI-NewsVoir)