The pollution story In Black And Pink

Life in Delhi is a capital punishment. The city's air is so polluted it claims a victim every hour. The level of small particles less than 10 micron ( pm 10) present in the air are very high and are known to cause severe lung damage and cancer. The combustion of diesel generates large quantities of these particles, besides other harmful gases and dangerous hydrocarbons. The pictures below and on the opposite page speak volumes about the quality of air in the capital and the insidious manner in which vital organs of the body are exposed to these deadly pollutants.

At a public meeting on June 5, World Environment Day, 17 of the most eminent medical doctors, scientists and toxicologists of India released a signed statement expressing concern over the harmful effects of air pollution in the capital. The document points out that "there is urgent need for comprehensive epidemiological studies to show how ambient air pollution is affecting people's health and to quantitate this information and provide policy tools for air quality planning."

The medical experts suggest, "As a first step, we urge the government to stop the dieselisation of the private vehicle fleet. Commercial profit and public good have to become mutually compatible and reinforcing."

The statement was released by Prof V Ramalingaswami, former director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, president of the National Institute of Immunology and former Director-General of the Indian Council for Medical Research, New Delhi.

Published: Thursday 15 July 1999

The pollution story In Black And Pink

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