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Post-Diwali Air Quality Unsafe in Panchkula Despite Drop In Pollution Levels

Post-Diwali Air Quality Unsafe in Panchkula Despite Drop In Pollution Levels

  • Air quality remains unsafe in Panchkula and Chandigarh region post-Diwali despite recording less pollution than last year. 
  • Despite the drop in pollution levels, the rise in respiratory illness is expected amongst children as air quality largely remains unsafe.
  • Doctors advise measures to protect your child from respiratory diseases this Diwali.

Panchkula, 23 October: While Chandigarh and Panchkula region witnessed drop in pollution levels post-Diwali this year in comparison to 2016, the air quality still remains unsafe. The available data of 2016 suggest that respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) levels in the region on Diwali night averagely recorded around 300 micrograms per cubic meter (mcg/m3), against the national permissible limit of 100 mcg/m3. However, this year the air quality recorded between 133 and 214 mcg/m3 in Panchkula and around 172 in Chandigarh on Diwali night.

However, air quality still remains unsafe as the pollution levels are much higher than permissible limits of 100 mcg/m3.

 “It is important that people understand that air quality is largely unsafe due to high pollution levels and there are good changes of people getting affected by respiratory diseases and complications.  It is well-known that fireworks release a toxic mixture of gasses which include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and even manganese and cadmium particles in the atmosphere. The emissions during Diwali remain in the atmosphere and takes 4 months to dissipate, even if it may seem that weather has cleared. Therefore, it is all the more important to take precautions now.” said Dr. Jyoti Chawla, Senior Consultant Paediatrics, Paras Bliss Hospital.

Every year around Diwali, hospitals report an increase in the number of people suffering from asthma, bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.

Children are most affected, and we usually expect a 40% rise in respiratory illness in kids post-Diwali, says Dr. Jyoti.

Explaining the reasons which make children more susceptible to respiratory diseases around Diwali, Dr. Jyoti Chawla, Senior Consultant Paediatrics, Paras Bliss Hospital says “The prolonged exposure to gasses particularly affects the children more compared to adults. Adults have better defenses against particulate matter and air pollutants than children. Children are more active than adults and therefore their intake of air into lungs is higher, as their lungs are not fully developed till late teens. Children’s ability to filter out or detoxify environmental agents and pollution is differential. Also, in kids airway epithelium, which is the first line defense against respiratory viruses and pollutants, is more permeable than in adults, making them more vulnerable to diseases.”

Rise in air pollution during Diwali is caused by human extravagance, and therefore people should take the onus of their health and follow due preventive measures to protect yourself and the children around you from the toxic air post-Diwali celebrations. The following measures can help prevent respiratory diseases in children and adults alike.

  • Adults should note the daily air quality index of the city for a week after Diwali, and if pollution levels tend to exceed over 200 mcg/m3, children should not be sent outdoors.
  • Children should not be allowed to venture outside for playing and other activities. Make your kids wear quality air masks whenever they step outside at least for a week post-Diwali.
  • It is important that indoor air is kept clean and pollution free. Lighting firecrackers in the balconies or porch should be avoided. Keep windows and doors closed on Diwali night for preventing toxic gasses from entering inside.
  • Encourage kids to drink a lot of water during this period. Water helps to flush out toxins from the system.
  • Increase the intake of anti-oxidants rich diet which includes fruits and vegetables. They help in boosting vitamins in the body and its immune system.
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