With Diwali knocking on the door, the entire country has turned its attention towards Delhi-NCR for the horrific levels of air pollution in the area. The quality of air has worsened to an extent that some people are genuinely thinking of giving up crackers this festival season.
To showcase the severity of the issue, a pair of artificial lungs was installed in the premises of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi on November 3. This is an Initiative of ‘Help Delhi Breathe’, in partnership with Lung Care Foundation and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. The lung replica was made by Jhatkaa, a Bengaluru based NGO.
Turned grey from white in 24hrs
This replica of the human lungs was made with the fine surgical fabric used in operations. “The fabric has fine pores and can trap any kind of particulate matter. Just like how our lungs function,” said Dr Arvind Kumar in an exclusive interview with The Logical Indian. He has been a thoracic (chest) surgeon for the last 20 years and he is the co-founder of Lung Care Foundation.
“To facilitate the act of breathing, there are fans behind the filter, just like air passes through our lungs. So, this replica can perfectly mimic the functioning of a lung,” he further clarifies. He elaborated how the amount of impurities can affect the lungs.
“Today the colour of the lungs is dark grey and by Friday it is going to be black,” Dr Kumar laments. He says that the same thing is happening to the people of Delhi. He also mentions that the AQI (Air Quality Index) around the area where the lung has been installed is better than the rest of Delhi.
“You’re breathing poison”
Dr Kumar says that children are the ones who are suffering the most because of pollution. He says, “These particulate matters when dissolved in the lungs can cause a variety of issues. Breathing disorder, heart attack, reproductive problems and the worst affected are children. Because of pollution, their lung development, brain development, body development is stunted. The children are at higher risk of chest infection, pneumonia and high risks of cancer.”
“You’re breathing poison,” Dr Kumar says sternly. He remarks that once the air quality has reached such a poor level, the only thing to do is stop breathing.
“There are temporary measures to battle this pollution such as masks and air filters. But masks do not work in a crowded area. Can we have all the children in Delhi wearing masks?”, the concerned doctor asks.
“Air pollution is a health crisis and more so in Delhi. It is an emergency and no masks and air filters can completely ensure our well-being. There lies a solution in stopping the pollution sources. Let’s not make the already poisonous air even more polluted in Diwali or Chhat puja or Guru Purab or during Christmas and New Year celebrations by bursting crackers,” an earnest plea from Dr Arvind Kumar.
The Logical Indian urges all the stakeholders to consider the severity of the situation. The onus lies on us, the citizens, to protect our environment and the very air we breathe. While we wish everyone a Happy Diwali, we hope people see the larger picture and try to be considerate in their celebrations and adhere to the Supreme Court guidelines on their own.