Despite the increasing concerns regarding air pollution in the national capital, farmers in Amritsar’s Wadala Johal village on Wednesday continued to burn stubble in their fields.
The dip in Delhi’s air quality may lead to several existing respiratory illnesses and can also be harmful to healthy people during this COVID-19 pandemic. The current air quality of the city may lead to a spike in the pollution in the coming days.
According to Ranjeet Singh, a farmer, farmers are burning crops out of compulsion as the government did not give subsidies for alternate methods as was promised earlier. He said, “The government is cheating farmers and playing politics over stubble. Farmers are burning crop residue out of compulsion, not because we like this smoke. Our children are also breathing this air. If the government gives us subsidy as per National Green Tribunal provisions, no farmer will burn stubble.”
The air quality in Delhi further deteriorated on Wednesday as the Air Quality Index (AQI) was reported at 275 in Delhi’s ITO and Anand Vihar, 263 in Rohini, and 229 in Nehru Nagar, all in the “poor” category, according to the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC).
An AQI between 0-50 is marked good, 51-100 is satisfactory, 101-200 is moderate, 201-300 is poor, 301-400 is very poor and 401-500 is considered severe.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Environment Minister Gopal Rai said on Tuesday, kick-starts the sprinkling of the bio-decomposer solution, prepared by Pusa Research Institute in a field at Hiranki Village in Narela area of the national capital to combat the persisting issue.
The process aims to convert stubble into compost and help in doing away with the practice of burning it.
How bad is air pollution for your health?
According to WHO air pollution can have many health effects, like:
- Both short- and long-term exposure to ambient air pollution in children and adults can lead to problems like reduced lung function, respiratory infections, and aggravated asthma.
- It can have a severe effect on pregnant women. More exposure to ambient air pollution is associated with adverse birth outcomes, like as low birth weight, pre-term birth, and small gestational age births.
- Emerging evidence also suggests diabetes and neurological development in children may be affected by ambient air pollution.
- According to reports the household members that rely on polluting fuels and devices also suffer a higher risk of burns, poisonings, musculoskeletal injuries, and accidents
Who’s at risk?
The poor air quality can cause several health issues including irritation in the eyes, nose, and throat, can cause shortness of breath, aggravate asthma and other respiratory conditions, and affect the heart and cardiovascular system.
Breathing polluted air for long period can cause more serious problems for patients who are suffering from coronavirus.
COVID-19 is also a respiratory disease and is the one that especially reaches into your respiratory tract, which includes your lungs. Therefore, COVID-19 patients can cause a range of breathing problems, from mild to critical. Older adults and people who have other health conditions like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes can be at risk.
Air pollution kills seven million people worldwide each year: WHO
According to WHO’s report, Air pollution kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year. 9 out of 10 people breathe air that exceeds WHO guideline limits containing high levels of pollutants, with low- and middle-income countries suffering from the highest exposures, according to the data.
From smog hanging over cities to smoke inside the home, air pollution poses a major threat to health and climate. Both the household air pollution and the ambient (outdoor) pollution cause seven million premature deaths every year.
Most of them die due to stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and acute respiratory infections.