According to the WHO statistics very few cities, most of them concentrated in developed countries, meet air quality standards set by the health agency.
With 92% of the world’s population breathing polluted air, it’s our lungs that are most at risk. But that’s not all, according to doctors across Mumbai. Our children too could be bearing the brunt of the highly polluted environment that we are living in.
“Growing children need a lot of clean air and oxygen. If the air is toxic we don’t know how that would be affecting their growth,” said Dr Salil Bendre, Head of Department of Chest Medicine, Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital.
According to the WHO statistics very few cities, most of them concentrated in developed countries, meet air quality standards set by the health agency. Around three million deaths are directly related to outdoor pollution – most of them from middle or low income countries.
“Inhaling harmful gases of high density can lead to a lot of diseases in people. Running nose and frequent sneezing may lead to asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Lung diseases, lung cancers etc,” said Dr Samir Garde, Consulting Chest Physician, Global Hospitals.
But it is not only the lungs that are at a great risk, “Air pollution can cause skin irritation, rashes, allergy, headaches and even lack of concentration and fatigue,” said Dr Bendre.
WHO has asked countries across the world to come forward with sustainable solutions for transport, solid waste management and clean cooking fuels. Industrial emissions still constitute a high percentage of air pollution.
“Children upto 6 years of age and adults above the age of 60 are most sensitive to such particulate matters,” added Dr Garde. “Poor air quality also causes heart problems, including coronary artery disease, emphysema, respiratory infections, stroke, and cancer among non-smokers,” he continued.
But with most Indian cities faring badly, what does one do? There are no clear medical solutions that one can adopt. However keeping a high immunity can help combat some of the damage caused by deadly toxins.
“Having meals on time and sleeping for around six to seven hours can help increase immunity. While masks may not be a practical option having a high immunity can help,” said Dr Bendre.
Here’s what high air pollution can lead to:
Lung cancer among even non-smokers
Growth issues among children
Is there anything you can do?
Keep your immunity high
Eat regular meals
Sleep for atleast 6-7 hours
Plant more trees
Opt for car pooling or public transport
Cycle for short distances