The United States is experiencing its worst air pollution in its recent recorded history, after the wildfire smoke entered the country from Canada. The worst affected state, New York has been exposed to levels of pollution more than five times above the national air quality standard.
The air around New York City reached unprecedented levels of pollutant concentration on Wednesday afternoon with the air quality soaring to 413.
As an orange haze engulfs the city, New York can take some lessons from India’s national capital, which is no stranger to unhealthy and hazardous air quality at some time periods of the year.
From forming a ‘Green War Room’ to wearing a good quality mask, let’s take a look at how has Delhi tried to tackle its stubborn air pollution problem.
Wearing a good quality mask
Experts unanimously agree that the best way to keep one safe from the impact of air pollution is to invest in a high-quality mask that one must continue to wear when stepping out.
In fact, A study by the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self Organization, Germany, found that FFP2 masks provide 75 times better protection compared to surgical masks. A BIS approved FFP2 S mask like Savlon provides protection from virus, bacteria, dust, pollution, allergens and pollen ( > = 0.3 micron). These masks provide 95% protection from particle aerosols > = 0.3 micron.
These masks have electrostatically charged meltblown filters which provide advanced filtration compared to ordinary masks. These masks are also tested for comfort and skin compatibility. Savlon FFP2 S Masks are BIS Certified. Each batch undergoes rigorous testing on quality performance and efficacy as prescribed by BIS. By wearing a good quality, well fitted mask the effects of viruses, bacteria, dust, pollution, pollen and allergens can be greatly reduced and can contribute to overall better health.
No to outdoor activities
Not staying for long hours outside, when the air is polluted, especially for children, the elderly, pregnant women among others is also a must. In times of really severe Air Quality Index, Delhi has closed its schools.
Focus on vulnerable population
While air pollution
Dr Bhagwan Mantri, a Pulmonologist at Moolchand Hospital, New Delhi, says, “Polluted matter enters the lungs through breathing. In such circumstances, wearing a mask is important to restrict the passage of particulate matter. Patients suffering from asthma and other respiratory issues may find it difficult to breathe. They might experience allergic reactions and acute bronchitis and asthma attacks due to pollution. Irritation in the eyes is one of the common signs of air pollution. Hence, splashing water is necessary.”
People with lung disorders and other health issues should not spend time outdoors unless its absolutely needed.
Campaigns for people to follow
The city also followed certain campaigns especially during festivals that see more pollution. One such campaign was ‘Red light on, gaadi off’ campaign which essentially asks people to switch off their their ignition at traffic intersections while waiting for the signal to turn green.
Air purifiers at home
Several Delhiites invested in an air purifier to keep the air of their house relatively cleaner than what was outside. According to survey conducted by LocalCircles, 1 in 3 households had an air purifier in their houses.
Increasing indoor plants
To avoid indoor pollution, planting Aloe Vera, Ivy, and Spider plants can be beneficial. You can plant it at home or the office as well. These plants tend to minimize indoor pollution.
Creating a Green War Room
A Green war room launched by Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai monitored he air quality levels of the city 24X7 and stubble burning, and implement strategies based on the data to overcome smog.
This was managed by y 12 personnel, including scientists, ‘green fellows’ and trainee engineers.
During the heavy polluted months of winter, the Delhi government launched a month-long anti-dust campaign to check compliance of pollution norms at construction sites.
Some of these norms are deploying anti-smog guns, covering construction sites with tin walls and tarpaulin sheets and not leaving construction material uncovered. Rai said the norms state that stone cutting during construction cannot be done in the open and a wet jetting machine should be used for it.