Delhi pollution: Can masks and air purifiers really protect?
With Delhi reeling under pollution and extremely poor air quality, increasing number of people are resorting to using masks. The sale of products claiming to protect people from pollution such as air purifiers and masks are on a rise.
A senior manager of a leading air-purifier company has claimed that in the last one month, sales of air purifiers have gone up by 8 to 10 times.
But the real issue is that no study has been done to find out how efficient the respirators and air purifiers are in combating hazards posed by pollution.
An India Today report quoted the chairman of chest surgery at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Dr Arvind Kumar, as saying that "only N-95 and N-99 respirators can protect us from particulate matters".
He also said that even such masks can protect only if worn very tightly around the mouth and nose 24x7.
Now, the problem with this is that it makes inhaling difficult and one needs to put more effort in breathing while wearing it.
In the case of air purifiers, these can be effective to some extent, but doctors are not satisfied with the functioning of air purifiers as well. Air purifiers have to be used in closed rooms just like air conditioners. If the purified air comes in contact with the polluted air outside then the entire purpose of using purifiers would be defeated. Also, an air purifier must be selected as per the size of the room where it would be used.
Although the pollution is taking a toll on everybody's health in NCR region, the most vulnerable are those with asthma and lung issues. The Delhi government has assured that it has made all necessary arrangements for respiratory patients in hospitals.
Whatever may be the steps taken now to contain the problem, the questions till arises that why was the situation allowed to deteriorate this much.