National

Delhi heaves a ‘very unhealthy’ sigh of relief

AESHA DATTA MEENAKSHI VERMA AMBWANI New Delhi November 7 | Updated on January 15, 2018

Air quality improves a notch, but pollution level remains high

Delhiites breathed an ironic sigh of relief on Monday as air quality slipped out from the “hazardous” into the “very unhealthy” zone.

PM2.5 levels, which hovered around 839µg/m3 — 14 times the safe limit — in the early hours of the day, slipped to around 220µg/m3 late evening. It needs to be noted that PM2.5 levels over 300µg/m3 are considered hazardous.

Scramble for air purifiers

The week-long smog and haze, however, has taken a massive toll on residents — with a spike hospitalisation and fewer people reporting to work. The health emergency, however, has proved to be a boon for companies manufacturing air purifiers, with industry players claiming a sharp rise in the number of inquiries as well as sales.

Mahesh Gupta, Chairman, Kent RO Systems, said: “We have sold about 500 pieces in the last three days.”

According to a report by Techsci, the air-purifier segment stood at just about 40,000 units last fiscal and was expected to increase by three times to one lakh units by the end of this fiscal.

Hospitalisations

Hospitals have also been a major beneficiary of the crisis. Two major hospital chains — Max and Fortis — have seen a 10 per cent rise in hospitalisation with diseases related to pollution, such as asthma, bronchitis, breathlessness and chest pain.

Manoj Goyal, Director and unit head of pulmonology and sleep medicine, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, said the situation is also burning a massive hole in patients’ pockets.

“For a patient coming in with pneumonia, or chest infections or other life-threatening infections, treatment costs can go up to as much as ₹4-5 lakh.”

No tour cancellations

Winters are also the big season for foreign tourists, corporate travellers and conferences. However, travel and hotel companies said they had not seen any dramatic shift in travel trends or cancellations.

Raj Rana, South Asia CEO of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, said, “ Booking for leisure travel groups and travel for MICE is done much in advance and one hasn’t seen any cancellations.”

Published on November 07, 2016

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