Noida: The city of Noida has turned into a gas chamber. Early morning skies are shrouded in a thick layer of smog affecting everyday life. The air quality index in Noida has deteriorated into the 'Severe' category this week, as per the report presented by SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research). On November 2, the air quality index of Noida presented by SAFAR was 444, moving it from the very poor to the severe category.
CitySpidey reached out to Noida-based environmentalist Vikrant Tongad. His organisation's Social action for the forest environment (SAFE) creates awareness towards mitigating pollution and conserving the environment. Talking about the cause and effect of the poor air quality, Vikrant says, "The key reason for the air quality getting severe every time during Winters is due to not controlling it over the year."
He says that construction sites are one major instance where pollution emission is completely unchecked. There are many more reasons that contribute to poor AQI, such as traffic, open burning of crops and wastes, industrial pollution, and the increasing population.
Vikrant mentions that another challenge for Noida is its proximity to Delhi and other states of NCR. "Even if Noida cleans its air. There is an impact from the neighbouring states. So, it is necessary to take necessary actions all over the Delhi-NCR region so that the situation can be brought under control."
On talking about how severe poor air quality affects people, he says that poor air quality mostly affects the elderly and the young. They are sensitive and may face breathing issues, and eye irritation issues. Aggravated respiratory diseases such as emphysema, bronchitis and asthma, and lung damage, even after symptoms such as coughing or a sore throat disappear; wheezing; chest pain, dry throat, headache or nausea; reduced resistance to infections; increased fatigue; and weakened athletic performance can be caused by a poor AQI. Here, as per him, everyone must wear a mask and avoid going out.
Vikrant says that severe AQI every year to an extent shows the incapability of civic bodies in getting environmental norms implemented. "No one follows the norms set by NGT, which also contributes to worsening air quality," says he.
Amidst increasing pollution, it becomes imperative for people to take measures to curb it too. Vikrant says, "People have to take certain measures such as using public transport and less use of vehicles, promoting and increasing greenery, stopping open burning of waste, sprinkling water before cleaning roads, and demanding covered construction sites."