Delhi’s air quality remained severely polluted for the third consecutive day on Saturday with an overall air quality index (AQI) of 413, triggering several health problems among Delhiites. According to senior lung specialist from Medanta Hospital Dr Arvind Kumar, the severe air quality is equal to about 25–30 cigarettes in terms of damage to the body.
“From an unborn child to elderly…All age groups are adversely affected by air pollution. You might wonder how an unborn child is affected because that child is not breathing…how the air toxins are reaching the child. When the child’s mother is breathing, the toxins go to her lungs; through the lungs, they go into the blood; and through the placenta, they reach the child, or the fetus, and cause damage…It can cause premature deliveries and further issues as well,” Dr Kumar said while speaking to news agency ANI.
He added, “When the child is born, they start breathing the same air…Imagine a newborn smoking 25-30 cigarettes on the first day of his or her life. You can imagine what hell will let loose on various organs of their body. They have all sorts of breathing problems.”
Delhi has been choking under severe toxic air for the past few days. The rapid deterioration in air quality and fog has also plunged the visibility in the national capital as a suffocating smog gripped the city.
On Saturday, the AQI at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range and Shadipur was recorded at 453, while at Anand Vihar it was recorded at 448. Wazirpur saw an AQI of 442, Punjab Bagh at 435, 434 at Bawana, 432 at Okhla, and 431 at R K Puram, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The air quality in other parts of the National Capital Region (NCR) was also in the severe category – 337 at Ghaziabad, 490 at Greater Noida, 449 at Faridabad, and 392 at Gurugram.
Notably, 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.