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National Pollution Control Day 2021: Experts shed light on importance of pollution prevention

ANI | Updated: Dec 02, 2021 17:23 IST

New Delhi [India], December 2 (ANI): Annually the date December 2 is observed as National Pollution Control Day to commemorate the lives lost in the Bhopal Gas tragedy of 1984.
The event that took place on the night of December 2nd and 3rd is considered one of the biggest industrial pollution catastrophes till now and several people died due to the leakage of poisonous gas Methyl Isocyanate, also known as MIC.
This day also aims to make people comprehend the need for preserving the earth's natural resources and raise awareness about how to prevent pollution caused due to industrial waste and human negligence because environmental pollution, directly and indirectly, affects the quality of life more than one can imagine. Pollution prevention is a major global concern because everyone on the earth is entitled to clean air to breathe, water to drink, and to enjoy public lands.
The National Health Portal of India data reveals that around 7 million people die every year due to air pollution. The data also reveals that nine out of ten people globally do not have access to clean and safe air. This year's main theme is to make people aware of the things that can be done in order to prevent pollution and control it.
For this thought leaders, medical experts, and industry leaders in this space have addressed the issue of air pollution and how it's affecting our lifestyle in the long run, and how to overcome the problem to sustain.
Dr Shuchin Bajaj, Founder and Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, said, "Pollution is currently one of the biggest challenges the world is facing today. The air quality has degraded beyond our control and the winter season in many parts of India is adding to the adverseness of the situation. The pollution caused around this time takes around 3-4 months to dissipate and therefore increases prolonged exposure to these gasses. Every individual is affected by bad air quality; the most badly affected are children."
"Children's ability to filter out or detoxify environmental agents and pollution is different. Also, in kids airway epithelium is more permeable than in adults, which makes them more vulnerable to diseases. For children who grow up in highly polluted cities like Delhi and Gurugram, the impact of this dangerous air can be catastrophic on their undeveloped lungs and respiratory systems. No surprise, our pulmonary department will be overflowing with patients. I urge the people to save our environment by following all the guidelines to curb pollution," he continued.

Adding to this Dr Shubhang Aggarwal, Director, NHS Hospital, Jalandhar, said, "The dust and particulate material from vehicular pollution and smoke from stubble burning have caused smog-like conditions in Delhi and its nearby cities. The dangerous mix of pollutants in our air also increases the risk of respiratory diseases, much like smoking cigarette toxins does. We have seen a significant spike in people reporting respiratory problems in such weather and environmental conditions. Common complaints include cough and breathlessness. It is well known that the burning of stubble releases a toxic mixture of gasses which include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and even manganese and cadmium particles in the atmosphere. This means city residents are practically inhaling poisonous air, which is severely affecting their lung health."
Mr Himanshu Agarwal, CEO and Founder, Magneto CleanTech, stated that while pollution has been a subject of constant and animated public discussion for many years now, there is a need to shift the focus from outdoor to indoor pollution. With the governments on their part taking all possible measures to mitigate the impact on people, the common people too have a responsibility in this regard.
Shedding light on ways how people can mitigate the spread, he shared, "In order to minimize the emissions from their day-to-day activities, they should not only educate themselves and others in the community on the exigent need of cutting down on indoor pollution but also try to lead a less consumptive and carbon and another pollutant-free lifestyle in their own lives as much as possible. In light of an unprecedented pandemic increasingly reshaping our lifestyles and mobility habits prompting more spending of time indoors coupled with the established connection between dirty pollutants and harmful pathogens, there is never a better time than now to give a war cry on indoor pollution."
Dr Rishi Raj Borah, Country Director, Orbis India said, "Air pollution is known to erode lung and heart health, but it can affect the eyes too, even for those who wear spectacles. Those who are exposed to polluted air on a regular basis are said to have experienced watering of eyes or a burning sensation in their eyes. Experts say it may also cause dry eye syndrome. Given that cities like Delhi and NCR have again moved into the work-from-home model, which had affected the eyes of the workforce during the lockdown, there are chances that incidents of dry eye syndrome may increase."
A 2015 study by AIIMS, New Delhi, had shown that 10-15 per cent of people in Delhi suffer from chronic irritation and dry eye syndrome due to constant exposure to a high level of pollutants in the air. Redness, sensitivity to light, soreness, sensitivity to wind and smoke and mucus-forming around the eyeballs are some of the common symptoms of dry eye syndrome."
Mr Pankaj M Munjal, Chairman, and Managing Director, HMC, a Hero Motors Company talked about pollution remaining high in many parts of the country despite the implementation of all possible measures. He stated that every day, vehicular emission contributes to pollution in Indian cities. It is therefore important that people consider environmentally friendly options for transportation, such as cycling, to counteract the shrinking share of a healthy environment.
"There has been a tangible shift towards cycling due to limited mobility and activity options during the pandemic but we will need well-thought-out policies to maintain this momentum. While this will need some focussed behavioural change by the consumer, the government should also do more to promote cycling, such as creating more cycle lanes, reducing GST, and awareness campaigns for it. Cycling is one of the safest and best forms of exercise and is very effective for people with diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, to mention a few. A cycle is also a quieter vehicle and more people adopting them may address the issue of noise pollution," he said.
The number of people who die due to pollution every year is staggering and hence it becomes our shared responsibility to combat and curb its effects so as to move towards a greener and pollution-free future. (ANI)