Public health emergency declared in ‘gas chamber’ Delhi

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 01, 2019 Published on November 01, 2019

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A public health emergency has been declared in Delhi after the air quality levels deteriorated horribly, even much more worse than how it looked after Diwali. 

Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi issued an advisory stating, "A public health emergency has been declared in Delhi by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control Authority) due to non-tolerable levels of air pollution making Delhi a gas chamber." He announced that all schools public and private will remain closed for November 2, 4 and 5 as a result of this.

Also read: EPCA declares public health emergency in Delhi-NCR

According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the Air Quality Index (AQI) at Mandir Marg fell in the 'severe' category at 619. In Bawana region of north east Delhi, it shot up to 719.

Doctors are seeing patients, who are pouring in hordes, most of them are new patients. Many of them have not had lung diseases previously.

Rahul Sharma, Head, Respiratory and Critical Care in Garg Hospital, Delhi, said that he was seeing a 30 to 40 patients every day, as opposed to a routine 15 to 20 patients he sees every day.  He said that these patients were new patients, with many of them having acute issues like breathing difficulties. Intensive Care Units across the city are full.


Sharma said that the particulate matter and the smog is hazardous, and even otherwise healthy people are not breathing properly. "Patients with respiratory and cardiac diseases should take their medicines regularly," he warned. 

"Also using N95 masks with proper fit, so that one can breathe at least a little purified air would be advisable. People will get throat and skin irritation, like a burning sensation. So one should wash their face and eyes regularly. The emergency is so acute that one should not step out of their house until absolutely necessary. Whatever protective measures one takes will not be sufficient in this bad air," Sharma said. 

He also said that while it is encouraged for people to have indoor air purifying plants, electronic air purifiers will help people who are home-bound like the elderly and the kids.

SAFAR stated that the bad air conditions are persistent in Delhi due to the delayed withdrawal of monsoon, forcing stagnant conditions. Low rainfall and low surface windspeed as well as northwesterly direction of winds just adds to the woes of spiked levels of pollution. Biomass fire count and stubble fires which peaked at 3178 (a new peak) in Haryana and Punjab.

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Published on November 01, 2019
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