Air quality monitoring conducted by Hazards Center across Delhi reveals poor lung capacity in Children and in age groups below 20. 80% of the 343 samples collected indicate poor lung health.
Particulate Matter pollution monitored over 15 different locations across the capital for more than three months in a row this winter along with the peak flow tests conducted on a sample size of 343 revealed that 80 percent of the sample population had unhealthy or below the normal lung functioning.
The red dots represent the individuals in this sample of 343 young people, while the black line is the mean for the entire sample. The blue diamonds represent the normal values for a paediatric sample of children in the European Union. As may be seen from the chart, 80% of the peak flow values for the children in Delhi fall below the 'normal' level. This may partly be due to the demographic differences between the European Union and India, but one would not expect such a large difference in the city with the highest per capita income in the nation.
Peak flow tests are a simple way to measure how well your lungs are working by assessing how quickly you can blow air out of your lungs. The tests were conducted in areas where the monitors are installed, and out of the 15 locations, the samples for the health study were taken from 11 different areas.
The samples are collected from Holambi, Bhalaswa, Ayanagar, Punjabi Bagh, Wazirpur. Seelampur, Seemapuri, Saket, Okhla-NFC, Badarpur-TGK and Munirka
While one needs to remember that this may partly be due to the weaker economic background of the children, children across the city and country deserve good health. The study further Indicates that in the southern and northern peripheries of the city, children seem to be having somewhat better health but the air in all parts of the city is definitely not good for our children.
The findings of the study come at a time when data on Air Pollution is being consistently played down by the administration yet again. The Minister of State for Environment, Mahesh Sharma's response in the Rajya Sabha on the 5th of February as quoted in the Economic Times states that there is no direct link on disease and air pollution.
The air quality monitoring also highlights the fact that there is a base pollution load across Delhi of about 300 µg/m3 for PM10 and 200 µg/m3 for PM2.5, which is 3 times higher than the approved limits and the source is located in Delhi. It is important to note that the Graded Response Action Plan formulated hasn't been put to use fully since its inception. Multiple organisations and bodies across Delhi seem to be advocating for new plans every winter instead of implementing what's been put in place to mitigate the problem.