More people fall ill as air pollution suffocates New Delhi

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More people have fallen ill due to air pollution in India’s capital New Delhi in the past two weeks, according to the surveying results from an Indian agency.

An Indian agency conducted a survey among 25,000 respondents in New Delhi and surrounding areas, and the results showed that 80% of households have one or more members suffering from air pollution-related diseases.

The air pollution in the city has become increasingly serious, which makes many people feel unwell. In the past two weeks, the proportion of families visiting the hospital increased from 22% to 44% due to air pollution.

“Specifically, people who do not have any previous sickness start to complain about the burning of eyes. Often they feel a lot of burning in their eyes, water from their eyes, a lot of sneezing, feeling of suffocation, feeling of sore throat. There are more younger people having a cough. Cough is the major symptom here,” said Anshul, a doctor from the local Max Hospital Delhi.

On Saturday, the air quality in New Delhi was in the “very bad” category for the seventh consecutive day. The air quality index rose from Saturday’s 332 to 355. The air quality indexes of many cities near New Delhi also fell into the “very bad” category on the day. In the past week, the PM2.5 indicator in the air in New Delhi was around 220, which was several times higher than the safety level proposed by the Indian Health Department.

“My body is prone to allergies. Recently, there are many dust particles in the air in New Delhi, and I will sneeze, and my eyes are dry and congested. The main cause of these symptoms is dust,” said Ayush, a student.

Experts say that long-term exposure to toxic air can cause many common heart and lung diseases. According to the 2019 Global Burden of Disease Report, air pollution is one of the important risk factors for death in India in 2019, causing an estimated 1.67 million deaths.