New Delhi, 30 July 2017: As per statistics obtained from a report published early this year, about 1.2 million people die due to air pollution in India every year. And, of the 168 cities assessed, none were found to comply with the air quality standards as prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Air pollution is now a matter of great concern as it is affecting not only the health of our citizens but also medical tourism in India, says IMA.
Keeping this in consideration, the IMA is starting a campaign “Kahin aapke area mein pollution to nahi?” Under this campaign, all state/local branches as well as medical professionals are requested to make efforts to bring down the atmospheric pollution level to less than 80 μg/m3 on normal days and to less than 90 μg/m3 during festivals such as Diwali.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, “Air pollution is not only a major environmental hazard but also a major health hazard. It is one of the major causes of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and other acute respiratory problems. The need of the hour is to bring out stringent guidelines against inefficient modes of transport, household fuel and waste burning, coal-fired power plants, and industrial activities, as these are some of the major sources of air pollution. At any given time, the PM 2.5 levels should be less than 80 μg/m3 and noise level should be less than 80 dB. We expect all medical professionals to also educate their patients on a daily basis about the hazards of air pollution. Additionally, there is also a need to follow some measures at an individual level because every small contribution can lead to a big change.”
Evidence suggests that household air pollution in developing countries can increase risk conditions such as low birth-weight and perinatal mortality (still births and deaths in the first week of life), asthma, otitis media (middle ear infection) and other acute upper respiratory infections, tuberculosis, nasopharyngeal cancer, laryngeal cancer, and cervical cancer.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “Although there is a provision for environmental protection in our Constitution and steps have been taken by the government to address this issue, there is still a long way to go before the country can breathe clean air. The need of the hour is dedicated and sustained efforts which involve the public as well. And IMA’s current campaign is a first step towards this effort.”
Here are some ways in which you can help reduce air pollution at an individual level.
- Get your vehicle pollution checked regularly.
- Use eco-friendly products at home.
- Plant trees around your house.
- Avoid smoking inside the house although it is better to quit the habit altogether.
- Choose and buy sustainable and recycled products.
- Use energy-efficient devices at home.