New Delhi: In just a week since the Air Quality Index (AQI) for Delhi slipped into the ‘very poor’ category, a survey has found that as much as 65 per cent of the households in Delhi-NCR already have at least one member who has started experiencing pollution-related ailments.
Conducted by LocalCircles — a Noida-based group that carries out polls on issues of governance and policies — the survey has based its finding on 15,500 responses from people residing in Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad.
The survey collected data on the symptoms being experienced by family members in the past week.
As much as 29 per cent of the respondents said that at least one member at home had a cough, cold or sore throat, while 12 per cent of the households had at least one or more members at home already having difficulty breathing.
Six per cent of the respondents said that a member in the family was experiencing burning eyes.
As much as 18 per cent of the respondents said one or more family members experienced all of the aforementioned symptoms.
The survey also asked what measures families plan to take to handle the pollution crisis. In response, 6 per cent of the participants said that they are planning to travel away from Delhi or NCR for some or most of this period when air quality deteriorates.
As much as 21 per cent said they will stay indoors, increase intake of immunity foods or drinks. Just 12 per cent of the respondents said that they will use air purifiers to reduce the impact of pollution.
Of the others, 24 per cent said they will carry on routine activities and wear mask outdoors, 25 per cent will carry on routine activities, wear masks outdoors and consume immunity boosting foods, while nine per cent said they will do nothing and “just live with it”.
The survey also reveals that only 22 percent of the respondents believe that the central government and governments of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have done work on pollution-related issues in the last 12 months.
Pollution in Delhi
Delhi’s AQI has already dropped to the ‘very poor’ level for the first time in this season. The AQI in the city was 304 Tuesday morning even as the PM10 levels in Delhi-NCR region stood at 300 microgram per cubic meter. It has dropped to 312 Friday (today).
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.
The coming weeks are set to further degrade the quality of air in the capital region, as neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are seeing increasing instances of stubble burning.
Every year, just before the onset of winter, farmers in these states set fire to the crop residue in their fields in order to clear them for sowing the winter crop.
Pollutants from stubble burning travel with the wind across large parts of Northern India. Combined with the regular vehicular and industrial pollution in the city, a toxic smog engulf the city — causing the air pollution monitors to max out on some days.
Hundreds of farm fires have been spotted daily since the stubble burning incidents began in the end of September.
According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) run by IITM Pune, the count of farm fires was nearly 548 on 15 October contributing to 6 per cent of the pollution in Delhi.