It’s history revisited! Thick blanket of smog has descended upon our city. The same old story – #winter is coming and it is going to be harsh and dark. Dark absolutely yes with all this dust suspended. The visibility has turned so poor today that I can not see objects just 50 meters away. Schools have shut down in Noida and the capital region. This is how it looks from where I stand near KidZania in the TGIP mall complex. Wave Mall across the road, completely enveloped in a cloak of smog, is doing a disappearing act. Presto, I have to go mask shopping in dozens now to beat the Noida smog.
Pollutant AQI (Air Quality Index) as reported by SAFAR showed PM10 and PM2.5 levels at 500+ which are of the severe category. They have issued a health warning of emergency conditions with serious risk of respiratory effects in general public. Health Advisory states everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors; people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should remain indoors and keep activity levels low. Besides direct effects on health, poor visibility due to the worst smog in the history of UP State has caused many trains to be cancelled, flights diverted and pile-ups on the expressways ending up in serious injuries and fatalities.
This smog-screen over the city is a repeat of last year. Wonder why no concrete plan has come up in response to last year’s unprecedented Noida smog. Nearly 1.5 lakh under-construction flats are royally adding pollutants to air in Noida and Greater Noida. The tarpaulin coverings to contain the dust from these sites is mostly missing. The solutions to this menace had been endlessly discussed gone year. You could go through our earlier post on various suggestions to curb air pollution. Yet the action is missing.
Do’s and Don’ts
Since air Pollution is reaching alarming levels, and is in hazardous category, we should try to reduce our exposure and increase protection to avoid ill effects of air pollution. Some of the ways are enlisted here.
1. Suspend all your outdoor activities in early morning hours like running, jogging, cycling, gym and other sports. Monitor AQI levels in winter months. Resume these activities only if AQI is lower than 300. AQI levels less than 200 are amenable to regular activities. Yoga and Pranayams should preferably done in evening hours. Avoid gyms with out any air purification system. They could do more harm than good.
2. Keep your younger kids (less than 7 year old) indoors. Avoid sending them to school if AQI is higher than 350. Schools should proactively suspend all outdoor movement and allow kids to move out in afternoon hours only.
3. Use the sidewalk, service lanes and footpaths while walking. Main roads increase your exposure to pollution.
4. Avoid burning anything in open or if someone is doing please raise an alarm or inform CPCB on their website
5. Do not sweeping and cleaning activities in morning hours It will add suspended particles in air which otherwise had found a balance. Instead, use wet mopping preferably with warm water and add a pinch of baking soda in it. Do your bit.
How to increase protection
1. While riding bike or walking outdoor wear a good quality of N95/99 mask at the least use handkerchief, it also protect to some extent
2. First thing when you get into your car is to open car windows and let outdoor air to circulate for two minutes. It will help in diluting CO concentrations. CO is very toxic and can be fatal. Additionally, run your car AC for some time. Every car has AC Filters which reduce PM 2.5 substantially.
3. If possible use Air Purifier with Hepa, carbon & pre-filter at home and offices. It is advisable to use air purifiers in kids’ room and for older people, pregnant women and people with respiratory tract issues.
4. Allow some ventilation in your house between 3 to 5 pm. It is the best time during the day when PM2.5 levels are lowest especially on a bright sunny day.
5. Sprinkle water in your premises and on road to settle down the pollutants
6. Populate your house with anti-pollution plants like spider plant, mother-in-law’s tongue, dracaena, peace lily and bamboo palm.
Some other measures to help you fight air pollution
1. Increase intake of vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene; it will help in increasing immunity
2. Eat jaggery (gud) to flush out pollutants from lungs; simply replace your processed sugar with jaggery in all your preparation or consume jaggery as it is.
These tips have been borrowed from web. Please add yours in comments section.