Friday December 6, 2019

Air Pollution in Delhi Again Reaches ‘Severe’ Levels

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast light rainfall at isolated places in Delhi over the weekend which might bring down pollution levels

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Air Pollution
Delhi air pollution again reaches 'severe' levels. Pixabay

Owing to a rise in humidity and light winds, the overall air quality of the national capital slipped to the ‘severe’ zone on Saturday, despite the authorities predicting it would remain in the ‘very poor’ category.

“Calm winds along with a spike in humidity levels because of an induced Cyclonic Circulation over Northern Plains are the major contributors for a hike in pollution levels in Delhi and adjoining areas,” Mahesh Palawat, Director at private weather forecasting agency Skymet told IANS.

He said that the pollution levels might increase in the coming days as humidity levels are expected to go up due to rains in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

“Around January 13 and 14, moderate to dense fog is expected to make a comeback, which will result in high pollution levels and minimums will see a drop by a couple of degrees,” he said.

However, the Skymet Director said that post January 15, the air quality might start improving due to cold, north-westerly winds which will blow over the plains of the country.

The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), in its daily pollution analysis, has been maintaining that the air quality in Delhi won’t go beyond the ‘very poor’ category.

Delhi. air pollution
A man rides his bicycle in front of the India Gate shrouded in smog in New Delhi, Dec. 26, 2018. VOA

On Saturday however, many areas in Delhi and adjoining areas at 12 p.m recorded ‘severe’ levels of toxic particulate matter (PM) 2.5.

Anand Vihar at 448, Dwarka sector-8 at 450, ITO at 413, Mundka at 438, Delhi University North Campus at 416, R.K. Puram at 415, and Wazirpur at 434 – all recorded ‘severe’ levels of PM2.5.

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Other areas like Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Ashok Vihar, Burari Crossing, Vivek Vihar, Sirifort, Okhla Phase-2 also fared in the same category.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Delhi-NCR witnessed its first better days of the year with the air quality recorded in the ‘poor’ zone.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast light rainfall at isolated places in Delhi over the weekend which might bring down pollution levels. (IANS)

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Air Pollution Identified as a Life-threatening Illness: Study

"Our knowledge of the health effects of PM is still lacking in many areas," said researchers at the University of Southampton in UK

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health, air pollution, patna, India, national concern
Officials of CEED highlighted the fact that health must be the central point or focus for any kind of action on air pollution. Pixabay

Health related problems linked to air pollution could be far higher than previously thought, as researchers have found that short term exposure to fine particulate matter in the air (known as PM2.5) is associated with several newly identified causes of hospital admissions, even at levels below international air quality guidelines.

Air pollution has for the first time been linked life-threatening illnesses – including sepsis, kidney failure and urinary tract infections, according to the study published in the journal The BMJ.

The study also confirms several previously established causes of hospital admission associated with short term exposure to PM2.5 including heart and lung diseases, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes.

These associations remained even when the analysis was restricted to days when the PM2.5 concentration was below the WHO air quality guideline.

“Discovered several new causes of hospital admissions associated with short term exposure to PM2.5 and confirmed several already known associations, even at daily PM2.5 concentrations below the current WHO guideline,” said study researchers from Harvard Chan School of Public Health in US.

“Economic analysis suggests that even a small increase in short term exposure to PM2.5 is associated with substantial economic effect,” the added.

The researchers also suggest that the World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines need revising.

Barcelona, Deaths, Air Pollution
FILE – Pollution and clouds are seen over the sky of Barcelona, Spain, July 25, 2019. VOA

For the findings, the research team analysed more than 95 million Medicare hospital insurance claims for adults aged 65 or older in the US from 2000 to 2012.

Causes of hospital admission were classified into 214 mutually exclusive disease groups and these were linked with estimated daily exposure to PM2.5 based on data from the US Environmental Protection Agency.

The researchers then estimated the increased risk of admission and the corresponding costs associated with a 1 ug/m3 increase in short term exposure to PM2.5 for each disease group.

They found that each 1 ug/m3 increase in PM2.5 was associated with 2,050 extra hospital admissions, 12,216 days in hospital, and $31m (£24m, €28m) in care costs for diseases not previously associated with PM2.5 including sepsis, kidney failure, urinary tract and skin infections.

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The researchers point to some study limitations, such as being unable to fully capture costs after discharge, or take account of other factors that could trigger hospital admission, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and drug use.

However, strengths include the large sample size over a 13-year period and results that remained similar after further analyses, suggesting that they are robust.

“Our knowledge of the health effects of PM is still lacking in many areas,” said researchers at the University of Southampton in UK. (IANS)