With air pollution hovering over, doctors highlight the need to make the right choices
If you thought mosquito coils are helping you sleep peacefully, you are wrong. They are harming you as well, because one coil is equivalent to smoking 57 cigarettes.
“When you light one mosquito coil, the pollution caused in your house throughout the night is equivalent to you smoking 57 cigarettes,” said Dr Sujeet Rajan, Consultant Respiratory Physician, at a recently held panel discussion in Mumbai, organised by V Citizens Action Network (VCAN) to discuss air pollution.
Representatives from the state government, doctors, researchers, traffic police officers and citizens discussed ways to tackle the menace of air pollution in the country and this on a day when UNICEF tweeted that the terrifying level of pollution in Delhi is equivalent to a baby smoking 25 cigarettes a day.
“Better planning and acceptance of reality could have helped reduce the problem,” said Swadheen Kshatriya, Chief Secretary, Maharashtra, adding, “Mumbai, Pune and Solapur are among the 16 most polluted cities in the country.”
Calling air pollution a disaster for human health, Additional Chief Secretary of Maharashtra Malini Shankar said, “It has been linked to cancer, infertility and even type-2 diabetes. We are talking about pollution that travels for thousands of kilometres.”
Traffic policemen are the worst-affected. “To diffuse the situation, we try to keep rotating them from areas with high levels of pollution to those with low levels. Car pooling and frequent use of public transport will also help,” said Milind Bharambe, Joint Commissioner of Police, Traffic, Mumbai.
Kshatriya said that around 53,700 new vehicles hit the roads every day in the country and the problem of air pollution is only set to get worse if no proper measures are taken both by the civil society and the government.
“Involvement of citizens is very important. The choices that we make in choosing our appliances, using disposable plastic water bottles or what lands in our garbage, will make all the difference,” said Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).