Air quality in Ludhiana worsens amid spurt in farm fires
As farm fire incidents continued to be reported from across the state, the air quality index (AQI) of the city deteriorated, according to the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB).
The data shared by the PPCB shows that the air quality had moved from moderate to poor.
On October 23, the AQI level reached 222, which is stated to be poor and it kept rising further and was recorded 248 on October 24. The next day (on Dusshera) the AQI reached an alarming level and particulate matter (PM) 2.5 was recorded at 280, while the air quality remained moderate on October 26 and 27. But the PM 2.5 levels began to rise from October 28 and 29 after the AQI level reached 224 and 226 respectively. While on Friday, the AQI was recorded 186.
PPCB officials said there is a constant rise in stubble burning cases. As per the data shared by the board, over 879 stubble burning incidents have been reported from September 21 to October 29 , whereas 581 and 329 farm fires were reported in the corresponding period in 2019 and 2018 respectively.
What is PM 2.5 and why we need to worry
Particulate matter (PM) of the order of size of 2.5 microns is called PM2.5. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), PM 2.5 can penetrate the lung barrier and enter the blood system.
“Chronic exposure to particles contributes to the risk of developing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as lung cancer,” states the WHO website.
The particles with a diameter of 10 microns or less (PM10) can penetrate and lodge deep inside the lungs.
What doctors say
Doctors believe that mandating the wearing of masks due to the Covid-19 spread will help people while they are outdoors
If possible, use a mask which blocks PM2.5
Those who have dust allergy or a compromised immune system should avoid going out
People should wash their hands and face at regular intervals
Sand, soil and municipal waste should not be carried in open trolley/trucks
Players, athletes and senior citizens should avoid exercises/walks during these days
Patients, particularly asthmatic or those suffering from heart and eye ailments, must remain indoors
Parents are advised not to let their children play outside
Go to the nearest hospital if you feel breathless or palpitation