Delhi’s aam aadmi breathes in highly toxic air, says CSE report

Shunned as one of the world’s most polluted cities, Delhi is literally gasping for breath with air pollution levels skyrocketing without restraint. And the common man is the one facing the music.

This is the latest analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) which looked into the pollution levels that an average Delhiite is exposed to while travelling in mass modes such as the Delhi Metro, buses, autos or while walking.

Releasing the results of the analysis at a press conference here on Friday, CSE director general Sunita Narain said: “As the overall air quality of Delhi worsens, our exposure to toxic air increases several-fold.”

“The winter season is drawing to a close, but we must understand that Delhi cannot afford to face another severely polluted winter such as this one. The new Aam Aadmi Party government has taken on the reins in Delhi. We expect it to now lay down the priority action to control air pollution and protect public health in the city,” she noted.

Results of the study 

 In February this year, the CSE monitored air pollution levels in the Metro, buses, autos and while walking to assess the amount of pollution that an average citizen is exposed to. Anumita Roychowdhury, CSE’s executive director-research, explained that the exercise helped in understanding how much pollution people breathe in on a daily basis in Delhi while travelling.

 “Our data is quite shocking. We have found that daily personal exposure to toxic air is significantly higher than the background ambient air pollution that is monitored by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC). This is a serious risk to public health,” she warned.

 The dust track aerosol monitor used by CSE measures both mass and size fraction of particulate matter. A real time monitoring was carried out in different modes of mass transportation during morning and evening peak hour traffic in the first two weeks of February. Their average exposure was compared with the background ambient levels monitored by the DPCC at the nearest official monitoring station.

 Said Ms. Roychowdhury: “It is ironical that our public transport users, a majority in the city, who are part of the solution to the dangerous air pollution problem, are themselves vulnerable and victims of this highly toxic risk. This risk can be reduced only if a stringent clean air action plan is implemented in a time-bound manner.”

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 7:02:10 PM |

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