Air’s the truth, Delhi air can turn you sick | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Air’s the truth, Delhi air can turn you sick

The Delhi government has an uphill task of cleaning the city’s air before the Commonwealth Games.

delhi Updated: May 11, 2010 00:15 IST
Avishek G Dastidar

The Delhi government has an uphill task of cleaning the city’s air before the Commonwealth Games.

The city’s air is choked with tiny, toxic particles that travel to the deepest parts of the lungs.

Doctors have noticed the effect on people. Data available at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) show increasing number of new patients with asthmatic symptoms.

“We have noticed an increasing trend of young boys and girls who came to Delhi a year two ago from other states, developing asthmatic symptoms,” said Dr Randeep Guleria, specialist in pulmonary diseases at AIIMS. “Most of these patients do not smoke and do not have a history of asthma.”

The Centre for Science and Environment has done a “pre-Commonwealth Games assessment” of Delhi’s air quality monitored by the Central Pollution Control Board and come up with some alarming figures.

The levels of tiny particles are very high and climbing — in fact, they have hit levels of the pre-CNG days.

The levels of fine particles, as small as 10 microns, would have to be reduced by at least four times to be able to meet the current standard by October when the Games begin.

Nitrogen oxide levels are also on the rise. This is strongly related to vehicular activity and a high level of NOx helps build up ground-level ozone in the air.

The number of days with ozone levels exceeding the standards is high in both summer and winter months.

“Ozone is particularly harmful for athletes and outdoor activities,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, head of CSE’s ‘Clean Air Campaign’.

The India Meteorological Department, too, warned of a high air pollution build up during Games.