To breathe or not to breathe: the question of the hour

To breathe or not to breathe: the question of the hour

Lo and behold, when glancing outside the windows of the beautiful metropolis that is Delhi: it is rather difficult to see beyond a few buildings, thanks to the thick layer of smog that covers it. When the sun is setting, and everyone steps out for a nice evening walk - the walks are rather short-lived; thanks to the thick smell of smoke and dust filling the air and people’s nostrils. Children celebrate as their Diwali holidays have a pre-extension, but little do they know it is not because schools want them to stay home, it is because the air outside is just a little too lethal to breathe in. Welcome to the present day polluted Delhi, the haven of air pollution as it quickly climbed the list of most polluted cities in a matter of days.

Now, the real cause of the pollution is still not confirmed - while most are attributing it to the stubble burning practices of farmers in the neighboring states; There are others who attribute it to the general practices of a metropolitan cities with constant construction and innumerable vehicles running on combustible fuels. But no matter what the reason is, the effects are clear - it is affecting the population of the city - especially the children, elderly, and people with chronic illnesses.

As the PM2.5 levels are 10 times higher than the recommended levels, and the air quality index hits very severe - there are increased cases of asthma attacks, breathlessness, breathing issues, infections and such. It is even surmised that breathing this air is equivalent to breathing a few cigarettes a day (specifically 34 cigarettes a day, according to some reports). People who already have existing illnesses like COPD, Lung Cancers and Asthma are struggling and people who have a smaller lung capacity like kids, elderly folk, pregnant women - continue to struggle as well.

The government is trying to curb the pollution by bringing back the odd-even system of vehicles which existed a while ago as well. And there are also talks about trying to settle the particulate matter in the air by using artificial rain and purifiers to ease breathing and reduce pollution. While all this is done, on a personal level kindly stay safe and indoors, and try to celebrate Diwali without many fireworks and such - just to make sure the AQI doesn’t increase to the levels of more than the 34 cigarettes a day. Stay Safe!

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