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Even two days after Diwali, the AQI level in Delhi continues to be in the ‘severe’ category. The hospitals in the national capital witnessed an increase in patients coming with respiratory issues and burning eyes. Now, as per a report in India Today, Director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences pulmonologist Randeep Guleria said that Delhi’s air has become more harmful than cigarette smoke and also added that the lifespan of Delhi residents has been significantly reduced due to high pollution levels.
Speaking with the leading daily, Dr Guleria said, “Studies have shown that the life expectancy of the residents of Delhi has been significantly reduced. The data remains to be validated but pollution definitely reduces lifespan. In fact, the lungs of Delhiites have turned blackish.”
When asked about claims of crackers not contributing much to pollution in Delhi, he said that the pollution in the Indo-Gangetic plains is very high and the burning of crackers on Diwali, too, contributed to it significantly. He added that the increased vehicular movement during the festivals also led to the pollution.
He further claimed that COVID 19 severity increases in polluted areas. “Covid can even spread more easily as the coronavirus sticks to pollutants and doesn’t get dispersed,” he said. According to SAFAR, the AQI of Delhi (overall) stood at 437, wherein the concentration of PM 2.5 was 318, while that of PM 10 was reported to be 448. Meanwhile, the pollution levels in the National Capital Region (NCR), namely Noida and Gurugram, were also worrisome.