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Delhi air pollution: 29 red alert days in November

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Air pollution
source: dubeat.com

New Delhi: Delhi’s air quality was so poor in the month of November this year that according to China’s pollution warning system, 29 days of the 30 would have been termed as ‘red alert’ days.

A red alert is issued in China if there are more than 350 micrograms of coarse particulate matter (PM10) in one cubic metre.

According to Greenpeace India’s analysis of the National Air Quality Index, the period of September to November in Delhi had 33 such days, 29 of which were in November.

While the standard level of PM10 per cubic meter is 100 micrograms, the monitoring station at Anand Vihar recorded the level at 1,433 micrograms earlier in the week. That is a staggering 14 times more than the average level of particulates.

A red alert in China shuts down polluting industries and schools, while vehicular pollution is strictly checked and directives issued. A similar system in India is being called forth by activists.

Greenpeace India campaigner, Sunil Dahiya said, “We have monitoring stations and the data is available on the government’s sites. But, the average citizens are not aware of the data. There is a need for an alarm system.”

India’s own governmental data showed that several cities in North India were in worse shape than Beijing, added Dahiya.

“We can no longer deny that we are in a state of crisis, and equally, that this crisis creates the imperative to come up with policies to put an end to India’s air pollution crisis,” said Dahiya.

Both national and regional plans are required on a long-term basis to truly affect the growing pollution crisis, according to environmentalists. The general population needs to be made aware of the crisis so that a collective effort can come into place.

“The Delhi Government’s car rationing policy and move to shut down power plants will reduce pollution, but we need to move to renewable energy,” added Dahiya.

 

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Air Pollution Raises Anxiety, Depression Risks in Kids, Says Study

Among those exposed to higher levels of traffic-related air pollution, there were significant increases of myo-inositol in brain compared with those with lower pollution exposure

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rahul gandhi, environment
A recent report had said that 22 of the world's 30 worst cities for air pollution are in India, with Delhi again ranking as the world's most polluted capital. VOA

A new evidence suggests air pollution is not just associated with asthma and respiratory diseases, but may also impact metabolic and neurological development of children, putting them at an increased risk of anxiety and depression, says a study.

“Recent evidence suggests the central nervous system is particularly vulnerable to air pollution, suggesting a role in etiology of mental disorders, like anxiety or depression,” said study lead author Kelly Brunst, Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati in the US.

“This is the first study to use neuro-imaging to evaluate exposure to traffic-related air pollution, metabolite dysregulation in brain and generalised anxiety symptoms among otherwise healthy children,” Brunst said.

For the study, published in the journal Environmental Research, the researchers evaluated imaging of 145 children at an average age of 12 years, looking specifically at levels of myo-inositol in brain through a specialised MRI technique, magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

India, air pollution, WHO, diwali, Pollution, Delhi, egypt, air quality
A bird flies past the Humayun’s Tomb shrouded in smog in New Delhi, India. VOA

Myo-inositol is a naturally-occurring metabolite, mainly found in specialised brain cells known as glial cells, which assists in maintaining cell volume and fluid balance in brain and serves as a regulator for hormones and insulin in the body. Rise in myo-inositol levels correlate with increased population of glial cells, which often occurs in states of inflammation.

Among those exposed to higher levels of traffic-related air pollution, there were significant increases of myo-inositol in brain compared with those with lower pollution exposure, researchers said.

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They also observed rise in myo-inositol to be associated with more generalised anxiety symptoms. “In the higher, recent exposure group, we saw a 12 per cent increase in anxiety symptoms,” said Brunst.

Brunst, however, noted that the observed increase in reported generalised anxiety symptoms in this cohort of typically developing children was relatively small and were not likely to result in a clinical diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. (IANS)