‘My Commute Is Killing Me’ FT. Air Pollution

If you live or work in a polluted Indian metro, Air Pollution has already taken 2.6 years* away from your life. With Heart Disease, Lung Cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or Strokes as likely causes of death by pollution, the “Working Dead’’ tell you exactly how their commute is killing them. And you.

*Data: WHO study 2016

Heart Disease

Cholesterol deposits in arteries because of inflammation from toxins

"“One fifth, yes, one in five heart related deaths in Indian cities happens due to air pollution. And that is alarming.”" - Dr. Ashok Seth, Cardiologist

That my friend, is a figure that should really scare us given that heart ailments themselves are a big killer in the country.

Microscopic toxins such as Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrous Oxides and Carbon Monoxide in the air cause an inflammation in the arteries, which leads to a deposit of cholesterol and increased risk of heart attacks. If you have pre-existing heart conditions your chances of death increase by about three percent says cardiologist Dr Ashok Seth.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmnary Disease

When your city fails your lungs, your lungs fail you from the inhaled toxins that cause those famous ‘black spots’ of tar seen during lung surgery. Of air pollution related deaths, 49 percent are by lung disease, not including lung cancer.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases can kill 

Also Read: Local Sources, Not Crop Burning Causing Air Pollution in NCR

Lung Cancer

Lung tissues mutate due to toxins, this is cancer.

The toxins in the air, when inhaled, enter lung tissue via the blood stream, and mutate the cells there.

You don’t need to smoke to get lung cancer. In fact according the the World Health Organisation, the chances of dying of lung cancer have increased to 33 percent simply because of air pollution.

Stroke

Blood Clots lead to a stroke

While most of our cities have chronic pollution where the air quality is poor through the year, when pollution levels rise and become acute, the toxins thicken blood which leads to clots and eventually a stroke. Strokes can kill. Air pollution causes a 15 percent increase in death by blood stroke.

According to Sunita Narain of the Centre For Science and Environment, here is what a city like New Delhi needs to do to combat air pollution

  1. Transform its public transport system to dramatically reduce vehicular traffic.
  2. Go big on clean energy and stop the burning of ‘’pet coke’’ and ‘’ tyre oil’’ which are dirty fuels.
  3. Convert vehicles to electric or natural gas as was done in the past for CNG.
  4. Have strict enforcement of road dust laws to check construction
  5. Come up with a waste management pan so that landfills are not burning.

(FIT is launching its #PollutionKaSolution campaign. Join us by becoming an anti-air pollution warrior. Send in your questions, your stories of how to tackle air pollution and your ideas to FIT@thequint.com)

Also Read: Delhi NCR Sees Nearly 100% Spike in Air Pollution in One Week

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