With high-priced masks, purifiers out of reach, 57% Delhiites report major health issues

New Delhi: The trouble that deteriorating air quality has caused to residents of Delhi is not a new development. Every year in the months around Diwali the national capital chokes due to incessant pollution, owing to high residues of PM 10 and PM 2.5 in the air. However, a recent survey has made a troubling revelation that 57% Delhiites believe that their health has been compromised due to the ‘smoke chamber’ that their abode has turned into. Additionally, 23% said that one or more of their family members have already visited a doctor.

Moreover, the survey conducted by Local Circles highlights that majority of the residents are uncomfortable with the idea of staying back in the national capital amidst the poor air quality – which shot up to 999 around Diwali in many parts of Delhi, after slipping from very poor to severe to hazardous within months.

As per the survey, 35% of residents said they would like to leave Delhi NCR and move somewhere else. While 26% said they will stay there and equip themselves with things like air purifier, masks, more plants, 12 % believed that staying away from the spot would suffice. The remaining 27% said that they have no option to stay in the city and cope with the pollution.

But, the survey also suggests that coping up with the ‘poisonous‘ atmosphere has also turned into a daunting task for the inhabitants of Delhi due to high cost that goes into it. With the price of protective gear and equipment on the heavier side, 56% of citizens said that they do not have a mask or an air purifier to protect themselves for the Delhi pollution. While the high-quality masks meant for the most hazardous PM 2.5 in itself are burning holes in the citizen’s pockets, the air purifiers – that range from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000 – seem out of the reach of a large section of middle-class population.

In the survey, 56% of citizens said that they do not have a mask or an air purifier to protect themselves for the Delhi pollution. The remaining lot stated that they have a mask or an air purifier or both at their disposal.

EPCA and country’s pollution watchdog CPCB have continued to take some actions to control the level of pollution like limiting the entry of heavy vehicles in the city limits and putting a ban on construction activities during daytime, but the severe state of the environment has not shown much respite. Looks like the Government will have to move fast and take some very strict policy actions and enforcement to control the pollution before the citizenry gives up completely on its ability to ensure breathable air in the country’s capital.