In one of the most polluted cities in the world, there was recently an alert for the general public to preferably stay indoors due to high air pollution. There was also a list of precautions for those who needed to go outdoors. Generally, people were advised to stay indoors, to close all doors and windows, to avoid exposure to dust clouds while outdoors, to stay well hydrated by drinking lots of water to minimize the risk of air pollution and to use nasal filters or face masks.
They were also advised to avoid outdoor exercise near high traffic areas and join carpools to commute to and from office. An Environment Department pitched in with the advice of not to burn wood and asked people to plant trees as a part of long term measures. Now, one may wonder as to why are the meteorology departments, local and international medical forums so concerned about PM 2.5, PM10, burning of trash or wood as well as emphasizing on certain precautions to be taken when the AQI (Air Quality Index) becomes poor? Not only this, all these institutions are trying to bring about restrictions on industrial pollution, upgrading vehicle engines, etc. as also bringing about an increase in public awareness on quantity and quality of air pollution.
Effects of Poor AQI
All the governments in the world allocate a significant portion of their annual budget for health and health services for its citizens. And, poor air quality index increases the load on funds, and that load can be reduced easily through public awareness on how to effectively tackle this menace of air pollution. It is not difficult to identify the affect poor air quality has on the general public. Some of the symptoms resulting from poor AQI may be seen in most people who live in and around areas with high air pollution. Short term effects like headaches, nausea and other allergic reactions are more common. Poor air quality can also aggravate emphysema and asthma as well as short breath and tachycardia. Long term effects may lead to chronic respiratory diseases and more.
How do we tackle this problem?
On the global level, it is not easy to eradicate this problem entirely, although various governments have initiated some steps like planting trees, trying to reduce industrial and vehicular emission levels, etc. On an individual level, in places with high air pollution, we may avoid doing strenuous activities, especially in the morning, exercise within our home, drink a lot of water to enable our body to detoxify. There is another simple step that we may adopt when the forecast for air pollution is high or going through air polluted areas is to use a nasal filter. Thankfully a number of nasal filters are available in the market. For example, ‘Clenare Nasal Filters’. These filters come in various shapes and sizes. These nasal filters are made from high-quality medical grade plastic and are very soft to wear. They do not irritate the nostrils and since they are transparent, not easily seen even by persons standing next to the user. Moreover, the product itself need not be discarded when the filters become clogged and change colour, only filters need to be replaced.