New Delhi: If you become a parent in Delhi, it is given that your bundle of joy is born with a nightmarish health prospect. All kids are born chain smokers in Delhi, thanks to rising levels of pollution. And experts are unable to gauge how their health would pan out in a decade from now.
Painting a very grim fallout from pollution for kids, Dr Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director, Apollo Hospitals Group and a renowned paediatrician, has said that a newborn smokes around 40 cigarettes just as he or she sees the light of the day. Dr Sibal was addressing a press conference on the eve of World Environment Day (June 5). Apollo group of Hospitals has joined hands with Indian Medical Association (IMA) and Delhi Medical Association (DMA) to combat pollution menace in Delhi and elsewhere.
Dr Sibal further said, ‘air pollution has deleterious effect on people of every age group but kids and children are especially under threat. Air Pollution has been shown to have harmful effects on the respiratory system, cardiovascular system and brain. Air pollution has greater impact on children as different organ systems are developing and more vulnerable to damage. We need to check air pollution now before it causes irreversible harm.’
Dr Sibal added, ‘In place of saying-we become what we eat, the new adage is -we will become what we breathe. We have been taking clean air for granted. We hardly care for deteriorating air quality or are even conversant with Air Quality Index (AQI). Ideally, AQI should be less than 50 but even that between 51 and 100 is acceptable. In developed countries like USA and UK, even as AQI crosses 50, there is panic and makes a front page news but In India even if AQI reaches 400-500 marks, it hardly makes news. It has been found that in Delhi about 200 days AQI is 200. This is very severe and scary state of airs in India including Delhi and calls for immediate and consistent bid to combat pollution menace. Every minute 2 people are dying due to rising pollution. Small children inhale greater amount of air and their airways are narrow, so toxic air is more harmful to them. There is no accurate assessment of damage. We cannot measure the amount of damage that air pollution might cause to kids in 10 years.’
Dr Sibal further said, ‘we must anyhow save our children from such bad air. There is a bizarre myth that exposing children to polluted air would make their lungs stronger. It is a total fallacy.’
The collaboration between Apollo Hospitals and Indian Medical Association (IMA) aims to raise awareness on the increasingly debilitating effects of air pollution. Dr V K Monga, Chairman, IMA HBI and Dr Vinod Khetrapal also expressed their views. The conference, which was in line with this year’s theme of ‘Beat air pollution’, was a call to action for all citizens to combat this global crisis at an individual level. Experts highlighted how much each individual on average contributes to air pollution, and the ways to reduce air pollution with collective efforts of the society.
Dr Monga said, ‘IMA will go beyond ritual of making statement on the World Environment Day. Starting from now, we would make a concerted effort throughout the year and go among people and to government. Indian Medical Association (IMA) has 3 lakh doctors as members. We have decided that in every branch, each member would plant a tree as part of clean air campaign.’
In a message, Ms. Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals said, “WHO has unveiled astounding figures, which highlights that nine out of ten people are exposed to alarming levels of air pollution. In our country, industries, transport, agriculture, households, waste burning and a few natural elements like dust storms contribute significantly to the severity of air pollution levels every year. It is not a matter which can be solved by the government alone. Everyone must come together to address this national, or rather, global issue. We are proud to associate with IMA and DMA to increase awareness about air pollution and help in doing our bit to tackle this hazard.”
“With increasing urbanization and industrialization, air pollution has become the third-highest cause of death among all health risks. It is high time, that we as responsible citizens come together to resolve this issue and make planet earth a greener, healthier and happier place to live,” saidDr K Hariprasad, President, Apollo Hospitals Division.
Dr Vinod Khetarpal, Chairman, World Environment Day, Delhi Medical Association, furtherexplained, “Apart from industrial wastes being one of the most common causes of air pollution, agricultural wastes too add on to the increasing levels year on year. Livestock that produces methane and ammonia, and the burning of agricultural waste are two major sources of air pollution from agriculture. Around 24 percent of all greenhouse gases emitted worldwide, are from agriculture, forestry and other land-use.”
Experts listed down ten ways all of us can contribute to reduce air pollution:
- Use of Public Transport: Use Public Transportation to reduce Air Pollution. As per the facts and figures, 30% of all carbon dioxide gas emissions are produced by transportation.
- Buy Energy Efficient Vehicles: When purchasing a vehicle, consider fuel efficient and alternative fuel vehicles.
- Consider “Going Green”: “Going Green” means practicing an environment friendly and ecologically responsible lifestyle as well as making decisions to help protect the environment and sustain natural resources.
- Plant a Garden: Planting trees will help us get fresh air and reduce air pollution.
- Turn off Lights when not in use: Don’t waste energy and money. Be very careful and responsible to turn off lights at home when you or your family members are not at home or the lights are not in use.
- Avoid Plastic Bags: Try and avoid the use of plastic bags because they are non- biodegradable and are hard to decompose.
- Make use of Solar Energy: Solar power can save tons of energy for you and, top of that, it could also end up saving you a lot of cash in the long run as well.
- Always use recyclable products: One should always go for recyclable products, if they are accessible.
- Quit Smoking: Smoking is hazardous to health and to the people around you.
- Educate your Companions: Let the people around you know about how they can contribute to clean air initiatives and educate them about all of the different ways.