Delhi is now notorious as the most polluted city in the world but within the national capital too residents of Punjabi Bagh, RK Puram and Anand Vihar suffer more than other Delhiites.
Located near arterial roads, these areas, along with the Indira Gandhi International Airport, regularly report poor air quality, putting residents and those who frequent these areas at higher risk of respiratory disorders and lung damage.
One would think that RK Puram, considered to be relatively greener, would fare better but proximity to the Ring Road makes this residential area’s air highly toxic.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. These areas can be flagged for poor air quality as they have monitors that continuously check the pollution level. They reported the worst air quality in the city at 2pm on Friday. Other areas may be more polluted but lack of air quality monitors makes it difficult to ascertain their toxicity.
“These are the areas that you can pinpoint because of the air quality monitoring stations here. The pollution levels at other areas can be higher at times but there are no monitoring stations here. On the air quality index, these areas are usually the worst performers,” said
Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director at the Centre for Science and Environment.
The city’s schools are not safe either. According to a study conducted by Greenpeace, the presence of particulate matter that can lodge deep in lungs and cause breathing problems was four times higher than the permissible limit in certain Delhi schools.
“Particles which are smaller than 2.5 microns are not easily screened and they find an easy entry into the human body through inhaling. They then begin to affect the lungs and blood vessels surrounding the heart, especially in children. It could lead to cardiovascular problems like artery blockages very early in life,” said Dr JC Mohan, director of cardiology at Fortis Hospital in Shalimar Bagh.
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