Delhi-NCR residents prep for bad AQI days ahead with air purifiers, indoor plan...

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With several sectors reopening and a visible increase in vehicular movement, air pollution is rising in Delhi. Air Quality Index (AQI) hit 148 recently and India Meteorological Department expects air quality to deteriorate further by the end of this month. So, city residents are gearing up for the low AQI days expected in the months to come by buying air purifiers and plants, halting outdoor workouts, and even running awareness campaigns to ban firecrackers.

Air-purifier, a must

Gurugram resident Upasana Mahatani is hoping for “kinder” days ahead in terms of air quality, but is still preparing for the worst. “I’m ordering another air purifier and, unfortunately, we have more than enough masks,” she says.

App to report waste burning

Manas Fuloria, CEO of software firm Nagarro, is working towards a tangible solution to the problem. He says, “We are building an app so that people can report waste burning via WhatsApp. For eg someone can click and send a photo, and we will inform the authorities.”

Awareness campaigns

Ruchika Sethi, founder of a group Citizens of Clean Air, is also looking for solutions. “We are planning a campaign for banning firecrackers. Last year, government had approved bursting of green firecrackers and even regular ones were sold as green crackers... We’ll send out advisories at society level to continue respecting breathing difficulties of vulnerable categories.”

Work (in, not) out

“From this week onwards the air quality started dropping and I’ve started using air purifier again,” - Mohit Chauhan, a banker

Banker Mohit Chauhan says, “The solace during the lockdown was the better air quality. But with the onset of crop burning season, we are dreading the coming months. This week onwards, the air quality started dropping... Outdoor runs will be off and fitness regimen might move to gyms... The only respite is maybe due to limited traffic, vehicular pollution may not add to the issue.”

Plants to the rescue

Delhi-based author Siddharth Singh, who has written The Great Smog of India, shares that he feels like shifting form the city to another place for these dreaded days. “I wanted to move out of Delhi for the 3-4 week period when the air quality in Delhi is stuck in the hazardous territory. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to do that due to the pandemic. So, instead, I’ve ensured that my house is insulated from the outside air, and to do that I’ve purchased new filters for my indoor air purifiers. I have indoor plants too, but mostly because I love greenery. I’ll also be avoiding any strenuous activities during the peak smog period as that has a disproportionately adverse impact on the lungs and body. Apart from this, there isn’t much one can do to protect oneself.”

SIngh adds, “An advice, for people who run RWAs or manage buildings and employees, is to ensure that people who have to work outside like the guards and all, have N95 masks, and an electric output for heating in the winter. Without these, they will have no choice but to burn wood, which is dangerous for them and everyone else as well.”

Author tweets @Nainaarora8

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