It’s that time of the year when cool weather and air pollution played havoc with health of the citizens.
When outside, the eyes smart and water, the haze stalls visibility, the acrid smoke gets into your nose, throat and lungs. And the price citizens pay for this pollution in the long run is heavy and irreversible.
Air pollution in Pune has been on the rise over the last week and a few hours outdoors is enough for laboured breathing whether a person is a four-year-old, a 20-year-old, a 45-year-old or a senior citizen.
An increased number of vehicles, construction work and firecrackers have added to the particulate matter in the air. Citizens fear illness if they step out and many have air purifiers at home, in addition to keeping windows and balcony doors shut to avoid dust.
A resident of Sopanbaug states that her husband has cancer and his immunity is weak. The dust and pollution is so high that she is constantly worried about him. He has to always be in a sterile environment and that is difficult with this air pollution.
Several parents from across the city have complained of their children’s worsening bronchitis. A resident of Pimple Nilakh said that she, her husband and two children have dust allergies and are being treated. It has become difficult to go out and she is constantly worried about her kids.
A Kharadi resident said hers is an everyday battle and air pollution only aggravates it. She has interstitial lung disease and connective tissue disease. Both impact her lungs. Given the rise in pollution, this year, she is travelling abroad and will return once the air quality improves.
A pulmonologist and head of the neurotrauma unit at a city based hospital said that high-risk patients with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung conditions have to take extra care. They should use masks when outdoors and avoid smoking, including exposure to passive smoke. Getting enough sleep and adopting a healthy and nutritious diet can also help reduce some effects of air pollution.