Mumbai Pollution Worsens After Diwali – Blueair Counsels 6 Steps to Keep Safe

November 16, 2015,  18.39 PM IST || Pocket News Alert

Pollution levels spike 5 times higher than normal, leaving the city dwellers at the risk of respiratory problems

Mumbai, November 16, 2015:  On Wednesday, air pollution levels deteriorated alarmingly after an evening of celebrations and fireworks. According to Swedish premium air purifier maker Blueair, the Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) increased 5 times higher than the national ambience air quality standard.

RSPM adversely impacts the respiratory system, the heart and the brain. So here are the six things Blueair advises to avoid the city’s poisonous air this Diwali:

1.       Wear an anti-pollution mask - Plain surgical masks alone won’t do. One should use hi-tech masks such as N95 to prevent breathing in very small particles. ‘N95’ means that when subjected to testing, the respirator blocks at least 95% of very small test particles. However, it does not completely eliminate the risk, as it still can’t filter poisonous gases like nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and ozone, which are all on the rise in the financial capital.

2.       Avoid outdoor workouts - Breathing heavily during that cardio workout will draw pollution deeper into the lungs, increasing the chances of respiratory ailments. Hence, outdoor exercise should be avoided at least until levels drop below the prescribed limit.

3.       Get out of town- Till the Diwali pollution comes under control, Mumbaiites can head out of town to escape the smog. If looking for an excuse to leave Mumbai during this festive season, this is the best time for the families, particularly those suffering with breathing problems and with younger children. Take a break to the hills and wildlife sanctuaries to get a breath of fresh air.

4.       Have foods and drinks rich in antioxidants- There is yet another reason to eat fruits and veggies, a diet rich in vitamin-C, which can lessen the effects of air pollution. Researchers have found that people with low levels of vitamin C have an increased risk of breathing problems. So, deep-colored fruits and vegetables such as berries, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, apples and plums that are packed full with antioxidants are good for you. Even green tea, cinnamon, pomegranate, and citrus fruits like oranges, have a powerful antioxidant effect.

5.       Use an indoor air purifier - Gone are the days when we could open our windows and take a deep breath, so we need to create safe havens at home or work. We can wear face masks when out, roll up the windows of our cars or simply lock ourselves at home. However, according to studies, the air inside our homes can be 2-5 times, and occasionally, more than 100 times higher than outdoor levels. So the easiest option is to use an air purifier at home. It can help protect us from various diseases caused by air pollution such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and lung cancer among others.

6.       Use public transportation - Using public transportation is the best way of improving any city’s air quality. According to a study, car emission accounts for around 75% of the Mumbai’s pollution and on an average 1,000 new cars are added to the city each day. Hence, over the years, there is no significant improvement in the number of people using public transportation, despite the government’s attempts to upgrade infrastructure in Mumbai.

Air quality deteriorated drastically from 9pm onwards on Wednesday breaching all safety standards several times over, indicating that government’s anti-cracker messaging failed to make an impact. According to the Blueair’s data, Bhandup recorded an air-quality index of 255 for particulate matter (PM2.5 - particles with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less), which is about 5 times the national safe standard. The air-quality index has to be between 0 and 50 for it to have minimal impact on a person's health.  Bhandup was closely followed by Chembur, Andheri and BKC.

Vijay Kannan, India Head of Blueair India, said, “We will continue to provide information on the rising pollution levels and make people aware so that they take necessary actions to protect themselves from health hazards.”

The data is provided by the company’s mobile app called Blueair Air Quality Monitor. The app provides real-time air pollution information gathered from a host of monitoring stations in India cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata.