Delhi kids unable to breathe easy

Children aged seven to 15 yrs suffer from respiratory diseases, says study.

A study shows high levels of respiratory disorders among children in the age bracket of seven to 15 years in Delhi due to indoor air pollution. It has also found close association of these disorders with the use of biomass in rural part of the city.

A study, conducted by Dr Raj Kumar, head of pulmonary medicine at Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, covered 3,456 children. 

It was found that 26.1 per cent of them suffer from rhinitis, 22.1 per cent have upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) and 7.7 per cent were diagnosed with asthma.

For the purpose of the study, the city was divided into nine zones which were further divided into three categories. Shahzada Bagh and Shahdara fell in the category of industrial area, Dallupura and Jagatpur were taken from rural Delhi, while Ashok Vihar, ITO, Janakpuri, Nizamuddin and Siri Fort were in residence-cum-commercial category.

Outdoor pollution levels

The areas were shortlisted as central pollution control board has monitoring stations here to measure outdoor pollution levels.

Survey was conducted in a radius of 1 km with monitoring station as the centre.

"This helped us measure the impact of outdoor pollution on indoor air pollution,” said Dr Kumar.

Levels of Sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and suspended particulate matter  were measured. Predictably, they were found to be higher in industrial areas.

Awareness level regarding indoor air pollution was also found to very low in the Capital.

In Dallupura village, none of the respondents knew of inside home pollution, while the corresponding figure in Jagatpur village was 76 per cent.

Low awareness

Even some urban areas showed 80 per cent of the population had lack of awareness about indoor air pollution.

A huge majority said they did not know if indoor air pollution causes diseases.

People in villages had lower levels of respiratory problems. However, use of biomass fuel in these areas was found to be closely associated with the disorders.

“Almost 31.2 per cent children's families used biomass fuels like wood. PM5, a particulate matter, was significantly high in these houses causing breathing troubles among children,” said Dr Kumar.

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