Drinking water may have saved more lives than any drug available for diarrhea or gastroenteritis. This is widely recognized. No one normalizes regular visits to a gastroenterologist while ignoring the fact that one uses contaminated water. Unfortunately, by comparison, there seems to be some fateful acceptance of air quality. This is despite the severity and scale of the problem. The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health reported that air pollution causes more than 6.5 million deaths each year worldwide; More than 90% of pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries like India.
People in Mumbai have experienced poor air quality in the past month. We’ve heard from friends, family, and acquaintances about coughs that don’t seem to improve despite treatment, constant sneezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and general discomfort. Respiratory doctors across the city have reported asthma-like symptoms in people without asthma. Apparently, to paraphrase Paracelsus (1493-1541), “dosage produces poison”.
See what the Mumbaikars have come in contact with. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended an AQI below 50 and a PM 2.5 below 12 µg/m3 as satisfactory (the 2021 guidelines are more stringent). Over the past month, the best 24-hour AQI for Mumbai was 92 and the worst was 280, with PMs of 2 respectively. 5 are 50 and 137 µg/m3, respectively. PM 2.5 are microscopic particles that enter the smallest airways of the lungs and have the potential to have serious health consequences.
Experts cite several causes of air pollution. Most of them refer to the exceptional quality of the air currents and winds this year. Mumbai, located on the coast, has traditionally benefited from the winds that act as the city’s ventilators, saving us from what landlocked cities like Delhi experience. The complacency that creeps in due to this natural benefit is unsettling. Walking through any part of the city will raise awareness of the amount of dust and pollution we seem to have added to the air while expecting winds and drafts to protect us. Based on the amount of construction, renovation, excavation, and repair work allowed, I suspect that there are mathematical models that can be used to regulate these and prevent people from inhaling the product. side effects of pollution are not so impeded. If factory workspaces can have regulations to protect employees from unacceptable levels of pollution, why shouldn’t the same apply to citizens?
As a respiratory specialist, it is not fun to accept the fact that air quality is becoming an irreversible risk factor and many people will need to be treated for a long time. just because of the quality of the air they breathe. It is difficult to advise individuals to stay active when the benefits of doing so may be outweighed by the harms of breathing polluted air. “Wearing a mask” is something that is said casually, not realizing how frustrating it is for people with respiratory symptoms. Masks need to be changed frequently, and highly effective masks are often expensive. As humans, we must fight hard against the masks of normalization that cover our facial expressions and mobility. Instead, we must promote improvements in the quality of the air we breathe