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People visiting doctors for air-pollution ailments double in a week in Delhi-NCR: Survey

The survey by LocalCircles also found that at least 86 percent of families in Delhi and its neighbouring areas have at least one member experiencing one or more ailments like breathing difficulty, sore throat and burning eyes due to toxic air

November 16, 2021 / 12:15 PM IST
Delhi air quality index is predicted to be in the ‘very poor’ category at 345 on November 12 as well. (Image: ANI)

Delhi air quality index is predicted to be in the ‘very poor’ category at 345 on November 12 as well. (Image: ANI)

People visiting a doctor or a hospital complaining of breathing difficulty, sore throat, burning eyes or similar ailments has doubled within a week in Delhi and its suburbs, as the National Capital Region continues to battle toxic air, a survey has found.

As many as 44 percent of the respondents said someone in their family had already visited a doctor or a hospital with an air pollution-related ailment, a survey by digital community-based platform LocalCircles said. The findings were released on November 15.

These complaints are unlikely to go away in a hurry as Delhi’s air continued to be “very poor” for the third consecutive day on November 16, with the Air Quality (AQI) Index at 396.

Air pollution in the national capital, ranked as one of the most polluted cities in the world, has worsened in the last few weeks due to stubble burning in neighbouring states, vehicular emissions, construction and coal-fired power plants, say experts.

Last week, a similar survey indicated that 4 in 5 families had someone who was experiencing pollution-related ailments. Twenty-two percent of the families had someone who visited a doctor or a hospital.

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Also read: Air pollution | How well do Delhi’s giant smog towers combat bad air?

The AQI of Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad has ranged between 300 and 1,000.  On November 16, Ghaziabad was at 349, Greater Noida 359, Gurgaon 363 and Noida 382 in the morning, a PTI report said.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor” and 401 and 500 “severe”.

Following a Supreme Court order, the Centre has on November 16 called an emergency meeting to consider measures like barring non-essential construction work, transport, power plants and implementing from home.

Also read: Air Pollution: Ready for lockdown in Delhi but it should cover entire NCR, Kejriwal government tells SC

The survey also found that at least 86 percent families in Delhi-NCR had a member experiencing one or more ailments due to toxic air.

At the end of the first week of November, 80 percent of families had indicated that one or more members were experiencing breathing difficulty, congestion, cough, sore throat, burning eyes, etc.

At the end of the second week, 32 percent respondents had a sore throat, cough, congestion or burning eyes. Another 7 percent complained of headache and sleep disruption and 20 percent were having trouble breathing, the survey found.

Also read: Air pollution | Haryana govt shuts schools in four districts until November 17

Residents were, however, split almost even on enforcing a three-day lockdown to reduce air pollution, it said.

The Delhi government on November 15 told the Supreme Court it was ready to impose a lockdown in the national capital but for it to be effective, the neighbouring states, too, should impose similar restrictions.

The survey received more than 25,000 responses from Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad.

“In summary, the impact of air pollution on people has worsened in the second week of November, with 86 per cent of families having one or more individuals experiencing pollution-related ailments,” it said.
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