Poor air quality in India’s capital triggers health concerns

admin   •   November 12, 2018   •   3188

 

New Delhi in smog | REUTERS

Pollution levels in New Delhi, the capital of India, are over 50 times more than the allowed limits, raising people’s concerns over health especially for children.

Four-year-old Avyan suffers from severe wheezing and chest infections, which often leading to multiple hospitalizations. Although he is under the protection of air purifiers and anti-pollution masks, his mother still worries about his health condition because the pollution in the city shows no sign of improving.

“Whenever I put a mask on him for doing the nebulizer, every time some part of me inside me cries. Because once I am pumping him with all those strong medicines, just to manage those symptoms, the other is his body really needs that to survive in this environment. So we would want him to have a very nice happy healthy childhood, but it’s sad that we are not able to give him that, just because we’re in a place which has so much of pollution,” said Anchal Garg Karanth, mother of Avyan.

Recent studies have shown that one in every three children in Delhi has impaired lung function according to the Center of Science and Environment. Doctors also say newborn babies in Delhi take in gulps of polluted air equivalent to smoking 25 cigarettes on the first day of their lives.

According to the World Health Organization, over 100,000 children died below the age of five due to the air pollution in India in 2016, which is the record high in the world. Children are particularly vulnerable to bad air because they breathe more rapidly than adults and absorb twice as many pollutants.

“If you are not oxygenating very well, your cognitive function in terms of behavior, intelligence, has a major impact, especially if it happens in the younger years because that is when the neurological system is really developing. Other than that, any chronic lung issue can impact the cardiovascular system as well,” said Anupama Gupta, a pediatrician.

Delhi’s smog is said to be a toxic mix of vehicular pollution, construction dust, and fumes from crops burnt by farmers in neighboring states. This year, the Delhi government banned all construction, digging and excavation work when the pollution levels started rising. The government might also act by taking private cars off of Delhi’s roads if pollution levels deteriorate further.

“In emergency response, you are not really solving the problem, but what you are doing is you are stopping from adding more where the situation is already very bad. But the more fundamental solution will come when you are doing a round-the-year plan and with stringent implementation of that plan,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhary, an environmentalist.

The Indian government is currently working on a national clean air plan and has suggested it aims to reduce air pollution by 30 percent in the next five years. — Reuters

India’s interior minister tests positive for coronavirus, hospitalised

UNTV News   •   August 3, 2020

India’s Interior Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday (August 2) that he had tested positive for coronavirus and had been admitted to hospital.

Amit Shah, a close aide to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and one of the country’s most powerful politicians, heads a key ministry that has been at the forefront of managing India’s coronavirus outbreak.

“I request all of you who came in contact with me in the last few days to isolate yourselves and get tested,” Shah said in a tweet.

India has 1,695,988 confirmed cases and 36,511 deaths due to coronavirus as of August 2, according to a Reuters tally. (Reuters)

(Production: Polly Rider, Michael Fiorentino)

All people should take precautions against COVID-19: WHO chief

UNTV News   •   July 31, 2020

Every age group should take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and others from being infected with COVID-19, stated the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) during a press conference on Thursday.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also acknowledged that long-term care facilities are being hit hard by the coronavirus in many countries.

“In many countries, more than 40 percent of COVID-19-related deaths have been linked to long-term care facilities and up to 80 percent in some high-income countries,” said Tedros.

He stated that although seniors are vulnerable to COVID-19, young people face the same risk of being infected.

In some countries, the number of cases increased because young people relaxed their vigilance and didn’t follow precautionary measures.

“Young people are not invincible. Young people can be infected. Young people can die. And young people can transmit the virus to others. That’s why young people must take the same precautions to protect themselves and protect others as everyone else,” said Tedros.

As of 18:03 Central European Summer Time on Thursday, there have been 16,812,755 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 662,095 deaths, reported the WHO. (Reuters)

WHO chief says some COVID-19 spikes due to ‘young letting down guard’

UNTV News   •   July 31, 2020

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday (July 30) spikes in the number of new COVID-19 cases in some countries were driven partly by young people letting down their guard, but that the world needed to learn to live with the disease.

“We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: young people are not invincible,” WHO director general Tedros told a news briefing in Geneva on Thursday, adding recent “spikes have been driven by young people letting down their guard in the northern hemisphere summer.”

France reported almost 1,400 new cases on Wednesday (July 29), the highest daily increase in more than a month.

Britain reported 763 new confirmed cases on Wednesday. (Reuters)

(Production: Cecile Mantovani)

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