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CWG construction added to pollution

Frenzied construction activities carried out for the Commonwealth Games last year, and increasing number of vehicles being added to the city roads every year are some of the factors responsible for polluting Delhi's air. Neelam Pandey reports. Breathing poison

delhi Updated: Nov 08, 2011 02:03 IST
Neelam Pandey

Frenzied construction activities carried out for the Commonwealth Games last year, and increasing number of vehicles being added to the city roads every year are some of the factors responsible for polluting Delhi's air.

Officials from the department of health of the Delhi government said that the number of deaths caused due to respiratory diseases has been increasing since the past few years.

"The problem has compounded over the years and we are trying to devise ways to bring it under control," said AK Walia, Delhi health minister. On an average, more than 1,300 vehicles are added to Delhi roads every day. The city already has more than 69 lakh vehicles.

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"The suspended particles in the air tend to aggravate the condition of asthmatics and others suffering from respiratory disorders. It can also affect a healthy person, if the pollution levels are higher than normal limits," said a doctor from AIIMS.

Elderly and children need to be extra careful as they are more prone to contracting the infection. Experts point out that the oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) are at critically high levels in the city. NOx and PM are known to cause cancer and asthma.

According to Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), during February and May 2010, researchers from the University of California , Berkeley, had travelled in auto-rickshaws, on a stipulated route in south Delhi. As part of their survey, they measured the particle concentration inside the vehicle while moving with the traffic and found that commuters breathe far more harmful particles inside vehicles while travelling compared to the ambient concentration.

"Close to 55% of Delhiites stay within 500m distance from main roads where vehicular pollution is quite high. More people are exposed to pollution because of this," said Anumita Roychowdhury, associate director, CSE.