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Want to continue living in Delhi? Then stop breathing!

Why, post-Diwali, Dante's seven circles of hell are in Delhi?

 |  5-minute read |   08-11-2018
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Stop breathing, Delhi. Just stop.

We have failed abysmally in saving our lungs — yet again.

delhi-pollution_110818042654.jpgWelcome to India's capital: Residents awoke on Thursday to find the city blanketed in a toxic fog. (Photo: Reuters)

With the air quality index reaching 999 on Diwali night and the morning after, you have to stop breathing — if you want to live.

aqi-delhi-nov-8_110818043201.jpgDelhi's Air Quality Index on Thursday morning. (Photo: World Air Quality Index website)

Sources from various pollution monitoring agencies have further confirmed to DailyO that almost a third of pollution monitors for measuring PM2.5 levels have now stopped working across the monitoring stations in Delhi because their range covers from zero to 999 μg/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre ) and Delhi’s levels have outrun the pollution monitors.

According to the CPCB data, the 24-hour rolling average of PM 2.5 and PM 10 were 164 and 294 μg/m3 respectively. The permissible limit of PM2.5 is 60 μg/m3 and that of PM 10 is 100 μg/m3. 

main_cracker-ban_110818042554.jpgWhat restrictions? Delhi-walas celebrating Diwali despite the cracker ban. (Photo: Reuters)

On Thursday morning, areas in Delhi that recorded the worst AQI (most where pollution monitors stopped working) included — Rohini, Dilshad Garden, ITO, Dwarka, Shadipur, Sirifort, Anand Vihar, Ashok Vihar, Bawana, Suraj Kund Rd, Tughlakabad, Jahangirpuri, Pragati Vihar, India Gate Circle, Mandir Marg, Mundaka, Najafgarh, Narela, Nehru Nagar, Okhla, Patparganj, Punjabi Bagh, Pusa Road, Patel Nagar, Inder Puri, R K Puram, Rohini, Sonia Vihar, Sri Aurobindo Marg, Vivek Vihar, Wazirpur, Aya Nagar and Burari.

This is according to the data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) that Dailyo has access to.

As is very obvious to those familiar with Delhi’s geography — most of these are residential areas with a high density of population.

“Violating the cracker ban coupled with low wind movement are the primary culprits. Add to this the burning of crops, dust from construction sites, rubbish burning and diesel vehicles — we have the perfect recipe for apocalypse ready,” said a senior DPCC official on condition of anonymity. Ironically, the official was wheezing under an asthma attack even as he spoke over the phone.

The situation was no better in Gurugram, Noida, and Ghaziabad, where crackers were burst as usual — the Supreme Court’s timeframe restriction for setting off firecrackers to only two hours in the night was a joke. As is the efficacy of the administration in enforcing the apex court's ban.

main_cracker-masks_110818042419.jpgCannot stop celebrating 'air'pocalypse (Photo: Twitter)

One cannot always see red in this situation. The Supreme Court ban saw another colour to people's protests— green. Delhi's Sadar Bazar Welfare Association traders invented their own green crackers by stuffing fireworks into green vegetables. 

main_greencrackerssa_110818042245.jpegThe 'green' crackers — is this funny? No, not really. (Photo: ANI)

You think that is funny? Think again — can we get any more suicidal and homicidal? 

The joke is on us as hospital beds can no longer contain patients — most of them are being sent back after nebulisation; no question of admitting any more patients. “The number of patients has doubled as compared to last week. It was an exceptional rise in the number of people who faced asthmatic attacks,” says Dr. Karan Madaan, associate professor, department of pulmonary medicine, AIIMS.

If you thought your bank balance could buy you health, think again.

Dr. Prashant Saxena, HOD, pulmonology and sleep medicine, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital in Saket says that there is already a shortage of inhalers and nebulisers in the market. “The sale of inhalers has gone up with the severity of attacks,” he affirms. Dr. Bobby Bhalotra, vice-chairman, department of chest medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital — another multi-specialty hospital, says that the hospital saw around 300 patients in their OPD with aggravated asthma. “The routine medicines have stopped working and we have no other option left than suggesting more inhalers and medicines to these people.”

Thus, now, let us sharpen those arrows from Lord Ram’s quiver as we get set to launch them and troll those gasping for breath because of the crackers. The Supreme Court of India or even the Supreme Lord of the Universe cannot pull you up, Delhi.

Lord Ram — whose return from exile you celebrate with such aplomb — would have fled back to the forests if he were around Delhi today.

Also read: Happy festivals of pollution: Why it's so difficult to burn the Ravana inside us

Writer

Rajeshwari Ganesan Rajeshwari Ganesan @rajeshwaridotg

Assistant Editor, DailyO

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