City dwellers continue to breathe polluted air

The Times of India , Sunday, June 05, 2016
Correspondent : Sandeep Rai
MEERUT: City dwellers continue to breathe polluted air. A disturbing trend has emerged in the city based on data collected by the Pollution Control Board (PCB) over the years. In the past five years, respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) in the atmosphere has increased by more than 50%.

RSPM is particulate matter which is readily inhaled by human beings through their respiratory system and its density in the atmosphere is a measure of air pollutants in the air of a particular area.

As per data, in 2011, the quantity of RSPM at Begum Bridge crossing was measured as 124.3 microgram per cubic meter, which was 24% more than the permissible limit of 100. After a gradual increase every year, the level stands at 186.7 microgram per cubic meter this year, which shows an increase of 66% from 2011 figures and 86% more than the permissible limit.

According to assistant scientist at PCB, Pawan Mishra, "Pollutants in the increased RSPM directly affect lungs as they get deposited there and lead to respiratory problems."

Dr VeerottamTomar, a pulmonologist, said, "When pollutants enter the lungs, they work as irritants that trigger the formation of phlegm in the walls of lungs. Consequently, the body is unable to release toxins like carbon dioxide and this leads to drowsiness in acute cases. Even the nose and tips of nails start turning blue in those circumstances, and patients have to be admitted to the intensive care unit. These pollutants also trigger attacks of bronchial asthma."

Besides, air pollution, water pollution is also playing havoc with the lives of city residents. Toxic industrial effluents flowing in the Kali River have contaminated the groundwater in dozens of villages and localities located near the banks of the river, which passes through the district. For instance, hundreds of residents of Saini village in Meerut are suffering from skin diseases and cancer.

Noise pollution, too, is gradually increasing in the city owing to traffic mismanagement and frequent jams. Data provided by the PCB reveals that almost all areas in the city witnessed higher levels of noise pollution.

For instance Begum Bridge, Thapar Nagar and Shastri Nagar experience close to 80 decibels, while Railway Road and Cantonment witness 65 decibels.

According to health experts, the ideal limit is not more than 45-50 decibels.

Ankur Gupta, ENT specialist, told TOI, "Ideally, the human ear should not be subjected to more than 50 decibels. Hence, 80 is certainly on the higher side and the ear should not be exposed to such high frequency continuously for more than an hour. After than the damage start occurring."


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