With neither Delhiâ€™s air nor its
noise pollution levels registering a healthy trend in the recent past, on World
Environment Day city doctors and health experts have warned about the major
health hazards that the city people â€“ especially children -- could be exposing
themselves to because of the constant exposure to the oppressively high
â€śThe background noise in Delhi
has registered a steep rise all over the city, with areas including Dwarka and
Vasant Kunj -- which has high density residential colonies -- clocking
pollution levels much higher than what is allowed,â€ť said JPN Hospitalâ€™s Centre
for Occupational and Environment Health director T. K. Joshi.
â€śWhat is worse is the fact that
nowhere in Delhi is the noise pollution level in sync with the prescribed or
allowed levels. Even in the middle of the night -- which has to be the quietest
time of the day -- the Capital continues to be noisy. In Delhi even a
no-noise-pollution zone is not spared,â€ť said Dr. Joshi.
He added that while the residents
of Dwarka and Vasant Kunj (where a study was undertaken by the Centre) had
written to senior Government officials about the high level of noise pollution
in the area, there hasnâ€™t been much improvement in the situation.
â€śBeing exposed to high levels of
noise pollution is a slow poison â€“ besides the obvious effect on hearing
ability, high noise levels also cause heart diseases and blood pressure related
problems. The effect it will have on children is still not documented
completely but it is well known that children and adolescents are the worst
hit. The most visible and immediate effect of being exposed to high levels of
noise pollution is the rise in road rage and the profound irritability that
many in Delhi complain about,â€ť noted Dr. Joshi.
So while the noise levels
continue to rise in the city without adequate checks and balances, air quality
too is being compromised with The Energy and Resources Instituteâ€™s latest
Environment Survey â€“ 2013 stating that â€śwhile in the last 10 years, the levels
of sulphur dioxide has reduced from 14 micrograms per cubic metre in 2001 to 5
micrograms per cubic metre in 2010, the levels of nitrogen dioxide and
particulate matter with aerodynamics diameter less than 10 micrograms have
increased substantially from 29 and 120 micrograms per cubic metre respectively
in 2001 to 55 and 261 micrograms per cubic metre respectively in 2010â€ť.
â€śAir pollution is a major
environmental risk to health and by taking measures to reduce air pollution
levels we can help the city reduce the burden of diseases from respiratory
infections, heart diseases and lung cancer. In the Environment Survey, 40 per
cent Delhiites accepted that the air quality in the city is getting worse,â€ť
noted the survey.
Delhi Medical Association member
Dr. Anil Bansal concurred: â€śWe are definitely seeing a larger number of
patients with lung diseases and skin infections that seem to be related to
rising air pollution. The city is particularly getting worse for people with
asthma and younger children who come in with reoccurring lung infections and
skin problems (more stubborn rashes and boils). Hospitals have also registered
a large increase in the number of patients with eye ailments and various kinds
of flu/ fever which we suspect are related to being exposed to polluted air,
consuming contaminated water and having to cope with extreme temperatures (very
hot summers and cold winters).â€ť
Meanwhile, high levels of
pollution apart, the weather department has forecast that city dwellers will
have to tolerate yet another (but probably the last bout) of high temperatures
(ranging between 42-46 degree Celsius) this week.
Regional Meteorological Centre
Deputy Director General (Meteorology) O. P. Singh said: â€śThe day temperature is
likely to increase from Tuesday onwards. The maximum temperature is likely to
increase by 2-3 degrees Celsius this week. It will be in the range of 42-44
degrees C during June 5 to 9.â€ť
â€śThis week will be warmer than
the preceding week with the temperature peaking on Thursday. This may be the
last warm spell over Delhi/NCR during the current summer season. Rains are
expected after this spell,â€ť Dr. Singh added.