New Delhi: As air quality level in the National Capital Region (NCR) continues to worsen amid stubble burning, a survey found that four out of five families are experiencing pollution-related ailments in Delhi.
Conducted by the community social media platform LocalCircles, the study noted that issues such as sore throat, cough, congestion and burning eyes have been on the rise since the Air Quality Index (AQI) level plunged into the “severe” category.
An AQI between zero 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’, according to the Central Pollution Control Board.
“Of the 8,097 respondents, the largest number or 69 per cent indicated experiencing ‘sore throat and/ or cough’; 56 per cent have complaints of ‘burning eyes’; 50 per cent ‘runny nose and/ or congestion’; 44 per cent are experiencing ‘breathing difficulty/ asthma’; 44 per cent are afflicted with ‘headaches’; 44 per cent are having problems sleeping; and 31 per cent have ‘anxiety and/ or difficulty concentrating’,” the survey found.
Eighteen per cent of the respondents have already visited a doctor in the last few weeks, the report said, warning the situation is likely to get worse over the coming week.
The study received over 19,000 responses — 63 per cent from men and 37 per cent women. — from residents across Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurugram and Faridabad.
‘Too little, too late’
Despite the Centre-appointed Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) and the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government enacting Stage 4 of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) and closing schools, the community platform stressed that these measures are “too little, too late.”
“Actions should already begin now for next October-November 2023 with aggressive objectives like reducing Delhi NCR pollution by over 50 per cent assigned to all the state governments and central government. For this pollution season, Delhi NCR residents are sadly on their own,” LocalCirlces said.
In another survey conducted by the same community social media platform, almost 53 per cent of the Delhi-NCR residents, based on responses from 20,000 people, identify stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh as the “primary cause” of air pollution.
Regarding the AAP government’s Odd-Even vehicle rationing scheme to reduce air pollution, around 56 per cent of the citizens did not support the policy, while 38 per cent came in support of the programme.
(Edited by Tony Rai)