Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Leave Delhi - Doctors Prescription

Jamil, Juhi Garg and Meera Prasad don’t know that the killer dust in Delhi’s air, RSPM (respirable suspended partculate matter), began falling after CNG was introduced and then, seven years ago, took a treacherous U-turn for the worse. What they know is that their children cough and wheeze into each night — Jamil lost his first child to pneumonia — and after several trips to the hospital, there’s only one advice doctors have for them: Leave Delhi.

Read more @ Indian Express

Technical Solutions are not Enough to Solve Air Pollution Problems in Indian Cities

Easier said than done, of course, but that advice betrays the sense of despair in the city’s health establishment over public policy failing to respond to a public health disaster in the making.
Records investigated by The Indian Express from the Out Patient Departments (OPD) of Delhi’s leading hospitals show that after the Supreme Court order of 1998 led to public transport vehicles switching to the cleaner CNG fuel, the two main hospitals handling a bulk of respiratory ailments reported a clear dip in cases.

Air Pollution in Indian Cities

Like the RSPM curve, which this investigation mapped yesterday, the number of OPD cases at the Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute (VPCI) and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hit a low a few years after that verdict. Then, they started to spike, as RSPM levels rose from 161 µg/m3 (microgram per cubic metre) in 2007 to 316 µg/m3 in 2014. VPCI: The number of OPD cases dipped from 51,694 in 2003-04 to 47,887 in 2006-07 and then started rising to reach an all-time high of 65,122 cases in 2013-14. AIIMS: The trend is similar, from 10,296 OPD cases for respiratory ailments in 2005-06 to a low of 9,519 in 2007-08 and again, an all-time high of 37,669 in 2014-15.

Where is the Real Time Monitoring Data in India?

To place that last figure in context, AIIMS started a separate respiratory department in 2013.
Admitting that these numbers are cause for serious alarm, Dr Randeep Guleria, head of respiratory medicine, AIIMS, told The Indian Express: “What is most worrying is that 10-15 years ago, when air pollution levels had come down, our average OPD attendance and admissions in respiratory medicine at AIIMS saw about a 20% decline. We seem to have lost out on our own achievements. As pollution levels have gone up, our public health success has been reversed.”

Air Pollution in Delhi - Winter Time Highs and Blame Games

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