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This year, Diwali in Delhi expected to be significantly more Polluted than in Past Two Years

The Air Quality Index will be 443 on Sunday, or the Diwali day, and reach 472 the day after

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People using Firecrackers to celebrate Diwali,. Flickr
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New Delhi, October 29, 2016: Diwali this year in Delhi is expected to be significantly more polluted than in the previous two years.

According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) of the Ministry of Earth Science, the air quality in the National capital region will be “severe” on October 30 and 31 and “worst” on October 31.

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The Air Quality Index (AQI) will be 443 on Sunday, or the Diwali day, and reach 472 the day after. The AQI between 300 to 400 is rated as very poor, and above 400 is rated as severe.

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“The highest levels of PM10 and PM2.5 are expected between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on the night of October 30 and 31. The air quality will be worst on October 31 and will start to improve from November 1,” says the SAFAR forecast.

There is enough moisture in the air and winds are stagnant, and atmospheric holding capacity of the emissions coming from firecrackers has increased. The highest levels of PM10 and PM2.5 are expected between 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. on the night of October 30-31.

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PM10 is particulate matter 10 micrometers or less in diameter and PM2.5 is particulate matter 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter.

While Noida is expected to be the most polluted area, Lodhi Road in Delhi is expected to be least polluted.

Incidentally, the levels of particulate matter were significantly low in 2016 as compared to 2014 and 2015, but since October 25, started to become significantly higher.

Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) Senior Scientist M.P. George attributed paddy stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana for this year’s Diwali being more polluted than in 2014 and 2015.

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“One of the chief reasons behind this Diwali being significantly more polluted than last two years, is crop burning in Punjab and Haryana,” said George.

“While every year around this time, farmers in Haryana and Punjab set paddy stubble ablaze to prepare for the next crop season, the pollution this year has been more,” he said .

As per SAFAR health advisory, when the AQI is severe, people should avoid all physical activity outdoors. (IANS)

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Youth in polluted cities at increased risk of Alzheimer’s

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Climate Trends works on solutions to air pollution, while Co Media Lab is a community media lab.
Pollution can lead to Alzheimer's in youth. Wikimedia Commons

Children and young adults living in polluted megacities are at increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s, a debilitating brain disease characterised by memory loss, a new study has warned.

“Alzheimer’s disease hallmarks start in childhood in polluted environments, and we must implement effective preventative measures early,” said one of the researchers Lilian Calderon-Garciduenas from University of Montana in the US.

Air pollution can trigger Alzheimer’s. Flickr

“It is useless to take reactive actions decades later,” Calderon-Garciduenas said. The findings, published in the Journal of Environmental Research, indicate that Alzheimer’s starts in early childhood, and the disease progression relates to age, pollution exposure and status of Apolipoprotein E (APOE 4), a well-known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s. The researchers studied 203 autopsies of Mexico City residents in the US ranging in age from 11 months to 40 years.

Metropolitan Mexico City is home to 24 million people exposed daily to concentrations of fine particulate matter and ozone above US Environmental Protection Agency standards. The researchers tracked two abnormal proteins that indicate development of Alzheimer’s, and they detected the early stages of the disease in babies less than a year old.

Also Read: Your daily cup of coffee can worsen Alzheimer’s symptoms

The scientists found heightened levels of the two abnormal proteins — hyperphosphorylated tau and beta amyloid — in the brains of young urbanites with lifetime exposures to fine-particulate-matter pollution (PM2.5).

They also tracked APOE 4 as well as lifetime cumulative exposure to unhealthy levels of PM2.5 — particles which are at least 30 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair and frequently cause the haze over urban areas. The researchers found hallmarks of the disease among 99.5 percent of the autopsies they examined in Mexico City. In addition, the findings showed that APOE 4 carriers had a higher risk of rapid progression of Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s can cause depression too. Pixabay

The researchers believe the detrimental effects are caused by tiny pollution particles that enter the brain through the nose, lungs and gastrointestinal tract, and these particles damage all barriers and travel everywhere in the body through the circulatory system.

The authors noted that ambient air pollution is a key modifiable risk for millions of people across the globe. “Neuroprotection measures ought to start very early, including the prenatal period and childhood,” Calderon-Garciduenas said. “Defining pediatric environmental, nutritional, metabolic and genetic risk-factor interactions are key to preventing Alzheimer’s disease,” she added. IANS