Over 92 pc people unaware of difference between PM2.5 and PM10, says air quality survey

By Joymala Bagchi

New Delhi [India], June 5 (ANI): A survey conducted on the awareness about air pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR) has shown that although people can feel the difference in air quality, most people are unaware of its basic terms.

According to the survey, 92.2 per cent of the people who participated were not aware of the difference between PM2.5 and PM10 and 83.6 per cent did not even know about the Air Quality Index (AQI).

The survey by Lung Care Foundation in partnership with Energy Policy Institute of the University of Chicago and Morsel Research and Development was conducted on 1,757 residents of Delhi and NCR.

"83.6 per cent respondents said they are not aware of what AQI is, though over 50 per cent respondents said that they feel the air quality in their city is bad or very bad. Most of them do not know about basic terms related to air quality such as AQI, PM2.5, and PM10," Abhishek Kumar, Founder and CEO of Lung Care Foundation, told ANI, on Friday.

He said that since the people are unaware of these details, they will also not be able to comply with health advisories issued by the government for various air quality levels.

The study was conducted under project SHAN -- Saaf Hawa Aur Nagrik -- an initiative by Lung Care Foundation and supported by the Public Affairs Section of US Embassy at New Delhi.

"Through project SHAN, we aim to equip citizens with the information they need to understand the problem of air pollution and take reasonable steps to reduce it, leading to a better quality of health and life," Kumar said.

Around 42.6 per cent of the respondents belonged to age less than 25, while 47 per cent were between the age of 25 and 49, and 10.4 per cent over the age of 49.

Dr Arvind Kumar, Chairperson of Centre for Chest Surgery at Sir Gangaram Hospital, said that air pollution affects almost every organ of the body.

"Studies have proven that it leads to lung growth in children. Short term exposure can cause cough, irritation in the throat or trigger asthma attacks. Long term exposure can chronic respiratory diseases or even lung cancer. Apart from respiratory ailments, air pollution also has ill-effects on other vital organs such as heart, brain and kidneys," Dr Kumar said.

"Lockdown has shown that we can have clean air across India. What is important is now how the government and the public can work together to maintain these levels as the economy rebuilds," he added.

Do you think you have a responsibility to protect your environment, do you think air pollution has an impact on your health, are you aware of the National Clean Air Programme and what is the difference between PM2.5 and PM10, were some of the questions asked in the study.

Air pollution is a public health emergency that kills over seven million people globally and makes others more vulnerable to infections and diseases. (ANI)