A day after Diwali celebrations, Delhi’s air quality descended to ‘severe’ level for the first time this season at 9 pm on Monday. The air quality in Delhi persisted to be normal until Sunday evening, but it precariously descended below the permissible limits as bursting of firecrackers picked up late at night.
According to Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the air quality index (AQI) in Delhi, which was recorded at 163 at 5:30 pm, touched 1,005 around 11:30 pm.
An AQI between 0-100 is considered to be in the ”good or satisfactory" bracket, and 101-200 is termed as "moderate", while AQI between 201-300, 301-400, and 401-500 falls in the “poor”, “very poor”, and "severe” category, respectively. Anything above 500 is "severe plus emergency" category. According to World Health Organisation’s (WHO) standards, an AQI of 10 is considered safe.
Delhi’s air quality remains poor throughout the year but it worsens drastically during the winters, triggered by firecrackers during Diwali and stubble burning in the neighbouring states.
Smog causes problems like uneasy breathing, nausea, headache, cold and cough, chest pain and more.
Here is a 7-step guide that you can follow to protect yourself from pollution:
Abstain morning and evening walks and try to exercise only at home until the situation gets better. A recent study claims that Delhi’s morning walks are bad for your lungs and can cause a great deal of damage to your immunity. So better think twice, whether you are heading out for fresh air or to inhale the deadly smoke. The air pollution is at its highest in the morning. Shift outdoor activities to evening hours when pollution is slightly less.
Use anti-pollution masks
With such septic quality of air, it becomes mandatory for to use a mask. Choosing the right mask is important. A mask should ideally filter all the dust particles from the air you breathe in.
Stay covered up and maintain hygiene
Winter is when the likelihood of infections increases, so try to wear full-sleeve clothes and full bottoms. Besides, it is very important to wash your hands and feet every few hours to get rid of the dirt particles present in the environment. If possible, try to clean and wash your surrounding roads in order to settle the dust and pollutants.
Get an air-purifier
An air purifier is highly recommended in the current toxic air. If you have children, elderly, pregnant woman or asthma patients in your house, then investing in an air purifier is a must. A good air purifier’s price ranges between Rs 6000 - Rs 30000 which is a better investment than a visit to the doctor.
Use a closed-transport system
Try to avoid traveling in open vehicles such as two-wheelers and auto-rickshaws. Instead opt for the metro, buses, and cars. In fact, you should adopt “carpooling” to limit fuel emmission since it one of the biggest causes of air pollution. Having fewer cars on the road means reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improved air quality.
Grow trees and also foster indoor plants
Plants give off oxygen. Thus, the best way to improve air quality is to grow as many as trees as you can in your surroundings. Aloe vera, areca palm, English Ivy and Spider are some plants that have the capacity to purify the air and thus minimize the indoor pollution.
Eat well and stay fit
And at last, it is very crucial to maintain a good diet which includes lots of fruits and vegetables. Keep yourself hydrated to ensure your immunity is strong to fight off diseases. Water helps to get rid of extra toxins in our body. In order to keep your immune system healthy, include Vitamin C and Vitamin A-rich foods in your diet such as oranges, carrots, lemon.
Try to inseminate ginger and garlic in all your foods and consume yogurt once or twice a day. Jaggery (gur) can flush out the pollutants from your lungs. You can consume it every day at night or simply replace sugar with jaggery in your daily meal.
First Published: IST