Pollution – Everybody Is A Smoker

A recent post in CNN about Air Pollution in India, generally, and Delhi in particular, says

“In the city of Delhi, exposure to the air is equal to smoking maybe 10 cigarettes a day,” Rajesh Chawla, a respiratory physician at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, says. “Everybody is a smoker in this city.”

Delhi pollution is even worse than that of Beijing. In 2014, the World Health Organization released data on air quality in 1,600 cities, and Delhi was found to have the highest concentration of particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers, also called PM 2.5. Since then, other polluted cities have overtaken Delhi by having worse air pollution.

PM 2.5 particles are exceedingly small, can evade the body’s normal defenses, and penetrate deep into the lungs. They may cause chronic health problems and are linked to increased risk of asthma, heart disease, stroke and respiratory infections, as well as cancer of the trachea, lung, and bronchus.

The air in Delhi assaults the senses: On bad days, thick smog obscures the sun, reducing visibility to just a few hundred meters. The smog is often tinged with wood-smoke, and the scent clings to jackets and trousers like air from a smoky bar.

Delhi’s High Court has compared conditions in the city to “living in a gas chamber.”

This winter, PM 2.5 levels have frequently topped 500, a reading that is literally off the charts.

Speaking about the dangers of air pollution, Dr. Naresh Trehan – chairman and managing director, Medanta MediCity, Gurgaon – says:

“Scientists have been screaming about this for many years. This is like Nostradamus predicting doom — but the doom has come.”

Trehan released a set of photos that compared the lungs of two patients: one from Delhi, and one from a rural area with better air quality. The lung that had been breathing clean air was pink and fleshy, while the organ from Delhi was covered in a black substance that closely resembled tar.

A third of the city’s children already have respiratory problems, and nearly 45% suffer from reduced lung function. Air pollution has even been linked to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

read the complete article at CNN

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