In what has become a chronic condition across the globe, many cities are choking on extremely high levels of air pollution.
The study by Berkeley Earth, found that In Delhi, air quality index (AQI) readings have hit so high that is equivalent of smoking 7.7 cigarettes a day.
Mumbai’s air amounts to 4 a day.
WHO in it’s recent report named 14 Indian cities among the top 20 most polluted cities across the globe.
Richard Mueller, co-author of the study says: “Here is the rule of thumb: one cigarette a day is the roughly equivalent of a PM2.5 level of 22μg/m3.”
This comparison of pollution with the cigarette is necessary because people cannot decipher the meaning of readings on the pollution meters but they will certainly understand the meaning of smoking. So next time you see the reading on a pollution board, just divide it with 22 and you come to know the effect in cigarettes.
PM2.5 air pollution hits babies and the elderly hardest, and exposure in the womb has long been associated with an array of adverse birth outcomes like preterm birth and low birth weight.
But residents don’t just have PM2.5 to worry about. Other air pollution molecules, like the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in diesel exhaust, are known to raise cancer risk, especially in people exposed to the stuff as a fetus. Other pollutants affect the heart; still others are neurotoxins. Air pollution also impairs immune development in utero, making it harder for those exposed to fight infection later in life.
Prominent doctors advise against heavy exercise in polluted areas.
"Exercising is vital for health but not when we are breathing poison".
"On Thursday, I opened the chest of a 21-year-old girl for biopsy. Her lungs were black which is reflective of the amount of toxins inhaled and deposited," said a Surgeon.
Globally, chronic exposure to air pollution causes roughly 7 million people to die prematurely each year.
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