Mask or No Mask

An Alarming Pollution You Can’t Hide

Freestyle

December 15, 2015

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Delhi Air Pollution

Delhi Air Pollution


Type in Google ‘World’s most polluted city’ and if you are a hard core Delhiite, your heart will definitely skip a beat on seeing Delhi at the top of the list with PM2.5 particles level (an air pollutant) at 153 which is approximately 21 times beyond the permissible limits. The list was compiled by World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2014 and it has gotten worse ever since. The bustling Indian capital is now on radar for emitting the most harmful particles for its residents. Off late, people living in Delhi have started to accept the reality and are seen bowing down to measures as extreme as wearing a mask.

Yes you read that right; masks are no longer a thing for the foreigners or cyclists alone. Common man is finally waking up to the gravity of the situation though not at an alarming pace. The demand of masks either with inbuilt filters or the normal fabric masks has seen an upsurge compared to the last many years. For people who are apprehensive about spotting the surgical masks in either green or white colours are now opting for more fashionable options available throughout the city specifically in the areas of Khan Market, Yusuf Sarai, Saket or even at online portals such as Amazon. So much so that youngsters are buying these masks in various colours and prints to match with their several outfits. These masks could range from as low as INR 100 (EUR 1.5) to as high as INR 3000 (EUR 40) depending whether it’s a designer piece or has been bought from a surgical store.

Despite from all the hustle bustle of the rising pollution there is still a section of the society for whom wearing a mask was and will never be an option unlike in the cities of China, Korea and Japan where wearing a mask is but normal. Many Delhiites are still lethargic about taking any such severe measure to combat the rising pollution. Whereas the matter of fact is these masks do provide relief though short term as Dr Avi Kumar, consultant respiratory medicine, asserts, “I have asked around three patients who came with wheezing problems to wear masks and it has provided them some relief. There are many micro particles present in the air and masks with N95 and N99 ratings stop them to an extent.”

Mask or no mask, pollution levels are at an all time high in this city of India, which has even pushed the Delhi government to take farthest measures such as rationing the cars on the Delhi roads wherein even and odd number cars will run on alternate days, w.e.f January 2016, though initially for a trial period of 15 days. It would be interesting to see whether Delhi people bow down to leaving the luxury of their cars or will resume to wearing a mask or maybe both looking at the adversity of the situation.

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