Noida Twin Tower Demolition: Dos and don'ts to keep in mind if you live in the neighbourhood
Senior pulmonologist Dr Ashish Jain writes on the health risks for people living in the vicinity of the Noida Twin Towers set to be demolished in a controlled explosion on Sunday.
Supertech Twin Towers Demolition: The D-day is fast approaching. The authorities are busy making safety arrangements to ensure no damage is done to adjoining property or buildings during the Noida Twin Towers Demolition. However, there is little they can do to reduce the impact on the health of the people living close to the site of demolition. Each individual has to take care of his or her own health. There is no clear way to predict the quantum of health impact on the individuals after the demolition, we may know the clear picture when the dust settles, literally.
Soon after the twin towers are demolished, a blast of dust containing very large to very small particles will rise in the sky. While the larger particles may settle down quickly, the smaller and finer particles will take a long time to settle down. Till that time the finer particles will continue to remain suspended in the air. The duration will depend on many factors like humidity, wind speed, rains etc, much of which is beyond our control.
The density of the finer suspended particles will fade as we move away from ground zero but the wind direction will determine which way the particles move so you may be unlucky even if you stay far from the site but in the direction of the wind stream on that day, after the blast.
What should I do as an individual to safegaurd my family after the blast?
Close the windows and the doors tightly at the time of the blast and do not open unless required for ‘a few days’ after the blast. Unless the rain gods are kind, or the high wind speed disperses the dust, the particles can remain in the air for many days. The dust particles that enter your home settles on the floor, furniture, upholstery, curtains, floor mats, carpets etc. Please ensure you clean all the surfaces – daily at least once, or even multiple times if you see the dust visibly. Do not do dusting with a cloth or duster, try wet mopping or vacuum cleaning only. Because dusting will only disperse the settled dust back into the air. To remove the dust permanently from your house, use wet mopping or vacuum cleaning. Wash all the linen and curtains a day after the demolition. It will be good if you can roll up and store the carpets for a couple of days after the demolition. If you have an air purifier, plug it on. Else switch on the ACs, if you live close by. Make sure you clean the filter before and a couple of days after the blast.
As an individual, please take all your existing medications for your BP, Diabetes, Asthma or any other medication that you may be on as per your doctor’s instructions. Asthma, COPD, or other lung-related disease patients, who are on Inhalers, can take a few puffs for a few days following the demolition. You may talk to your physician beforehand. One must follow basic hygiene as well – wash your face with water regularly. An extra bath after the blast is not a bad idea. Keep yourself well hydrated. Eat fresh fruits (make sure you wash them properly before taking a bite).
What are the symptoms I should look for?
If the pollution levels are high people may experience sore throat, itching in the eyes, nose, and skin. Some senior citizens may experience lethargy and feverish feeling. You may experience general body aches and pains as well for a few days. The patients on Inhalers may feel chest congestion, increased cough, runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat etc. General mood swings and irritation may be observed.
When should I call my doctor?
For body aches and feverish feelings, you may try paracetamol. If you have a sore throat, running nose, sneezing etc, an anti-allergic medication may come in handy. Those who are already on Inhalers may need to increase the frequency of the inhalers. If the symptoms do not settle down in a few hours after they appear, please get in touch with your physician. Hopefully, the rain and wind will be kind to the residents living close by on that day, as they are caught in the crossfire for no fault of theirs.
Dr Ashish Jain is a senior consultant at Max Super Specialty Hospital, Saket, New Delhi and Noida.