Doctors and environmentalists have welcomed the Supreme Court's decision prohibiting the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR and expressed hope that it would ensure a relatively cleaner Diwali this year.
“We appreciate the Supreme Court’s decision on prohibition of firecrackers’ sale in Delhi-NCR. This may give some relief from the episodic air pollution levels in October. However, the pollution levels in north India are multiple times higher than the national standards throughout the winter months, hence, we also need to look at a stricter, comprehensive and time-bound action plan to address all sources of air pollution across the country,’’ noted Greenpeace India.
Pollution affects all parts of the body, be it skin, eyes, nose, heart or lungs, said Dr. Sandeep Nayar, HOD, Respiratory Medicine, Allergy and Sleep Disorders, BLK Super Speciality Hospital.
“Underlying diseases such as asthma also get aggravated and there is no doubt that the numberand severity of diseases have increased manifold in the city,” said Dr.Nayar.
“The concentrations of ultra-fine PM2.5 reach as high as 1,000 ug/m3,nearly 17 times the safe limit of 60 ug/m3. The levels are usually highest in the early mornings and late evenings. Morning joggers, schoolchildren, and elderly are more vulnerable to such highly toxic smog,’’ said Dr. Puneet Khanna, senior consultant and head, Department of Interventional Pulmonology, Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Aakash Healthcare – Super Speciality Hospital.
In 2016, Delhi’s air pollution levels stood at “severe” with the average PM2.5 level being recorded at over 700g/m³, 29 times above WHO standards.