Amid Biting Cold In Capital

Amid Biting Cold, Rickshaw Pullers, Hawkers Forced To Work For Survival In Capital

Despite the biting cold affecting the national capital, this December, not everyone is very fortunate to have a hot coffee and a warm bed. There are certain sections that are compelled to work in the open during this chilling season as the mercury dips.

After a brief respite, severe cold conditions returned to the national capital on Saturday, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) recorded 10 degrees celsius at the Safdarjung station in Delhi.
In such circumstances on Delhi’s streets, we can see many people putting efforts to connect the ends either by selling tea or pulling rickshaws. Moreover, hawkers, sweepers, and many other professionals have also gotten no respite from the cold.

A tea seller in Delhi told ANI that he opens his shop daily as several other people come to his shop early in the morning.

“I have to open the tea stall at 4 am as there are many people, especially auto drivers, rickshaw pullers, and hawkers, come here to my shop to start their day with the tea from my shop,” said the tea shop owner Ramesh Sharma.

A sweeper Lalit who sweeps the street near Civil Lines said “I am an MCD worker, I have to do work even if it is cold or raining before Delhi wakes up because it’s my job. I come here at 4 and sweep the street before the traffic starts to run, else it would become very challenging.”

Meanwhile, one of the rickshaw pullers here, Basir Khan said that they are compelled to work in such conditions as he has to feed the family.

“People like us have to work every day under compulsion if we start being affected by the cold waves or rain, how will our families survive and how will my children study? Everything would turn difficult,” rickshaw puller Basir Khan said.

Another rickshaw puller, who is also a migrant worker from Bihar, Dashrath Sahni, expressed his feelings and said that if affected by weather, he would not be able to pay the rent of the rickshaw to its owner.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), New Delhi’s Lodhi Road experienced ‘Very Poor’ air quality this morning with AQI recorded at 369.

The India Meteorological Department earlier predicted that cold wave conditions would likely prevail from December 31 and January 1 over Haryana, Chandigarh, and New Delhi.

In a tweet on December 28, IMD said, “Reduction in dense fog and cold day conditions over northwest India during next 48 hours. A fresh spell of dense fog and cold wave likely to commence over northwest India from 31st December 2022”. (ANI)

Read More:

Delhi AQI

Delhi Suffers Another ‘Very Poor’ Air Day With 337 AQI

Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded on Tuesday at 337 by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR).

According to the SAFAR, Delhi’s air quality was recorded in the ‘very poor’ category on Tuesday.
Earlier on Monday, the national capital woke up to smog with the Air Quality Index (AQI) recorded at 340 by SAFAR.

The Air Quality Index from 0 to 100 is considered as good, while from 100 to 200 it is moderate, from 200 to 300 it is poor, and from 300 to 400 it is said to be very poor and from 400 to 500 or above it is considered as severe.

Earlier on Sunday, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), a Union government panel recommending steps to control air pollution in the national capital, announced a temporary ban on construction and demolition activities in Delhi-NCR as part of its Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). The announcement came after the air quality in Delhi and the national capital region breached the ‘severe’ category.

The CAQM, which on Sunday chaired a meeting to review the air quality in Delhi-NCR, put out a release saying, “As the AQI in Delhi has slipped into ‘severe’ category, the sub-committee had decided that all actions, as envisaged under Stage III of the GRAP, be implemented in right earnest by all the agencies concerned, with immediate effect in the NCR, in addition to all action under Stage I and Stage II of the GRAP.”

The panel had further observed that the air quality saw a further deterioration over the last 24 hours, with Delhi’s overall Air Quality Index (AQI) at 407 on December 4, according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

In its order, the CAQM said it temporarily banned construction activities, “with the exception of Metro Rail services, including stations; airport and inter-state bus terminals; railway services/stations; national security/defence-related activities/ projects of national importance; hospitals/healthcare facilities; linear public projects such as highways, roads, flyovers, overbridges, power transmission, pipelines; sanitation projects like sewage treatment plants and water supply projects; ancillary activities specific to and supplementing above categories of projects”.

Milk and dairy units and those involved in the manufacturing of life-saving medical equipment, drugs, and medicines, were also exempted from the restrictions stipulated in the CAQM order. (ANI)

Read More:

Delhi AQI 'Very Poor' Measuring At 322 | Lokmarg

Air Pollution Causing More Harm Than Tobacco Smoke: Ex-AIIMS Director

Air pollution in India’s national capital and NCR region has been affecting the organs of the people, said former Director of AIIMS, Delhi Dr Randeep Guleria.

Dr Guleria, who is also HOD of the Department of Pulmonary Medicine and sleep disorders while speaking to ANI said, “it is causing more disability than even tobacco smoke. We talk a lot about smoking, but not about using tobacco. But now the burden of disability has shifted more towards air pollution and even that is causing a big problem than as compared to smoking.”
“So unfortunately the AQI is at severe range and we’ve seen that every year. There have been times when it went up to 900 in the last few years. The concern of course, is that it has a huge health impact. A paper published in 2017, suggested that in India every year, more than 1.24 million people die because of air pollution. So it’s huge mortality that we see it causes huge disability. Many people have a problem,” Dr Guleria further explained.

With the rise in air pollution people with asthmatic or bronchitis problems even shift to coastal areas to protect themselves from pollution. Dr Guleria said, “Many of our patients leave Delhi and go to the south or to the coastal areas, because they have worsening of the underlying COPD and asthma, if they stay in Delhi and have to be on oxygen or have to come repeatedly to the emergency.”

“The studies that we have been doing over the last few years have also shown that in children and adults, if you start looking at emergency room visits, there is a dramatic increase in emergency room visits for respiratory problems on day one and continuing for six days whenever AQI is in the poor or very poor or severe range in that area. So I think we have to understand that air pollution causes acute problems. It’s also causing long-term problems,” he said.

The doctor further added that there is data which suggests that heart disease strokes, low respiratory infections, COPD, or air pollution is causing more disability than even tobacco smoke.

Dr Guleria further emphasised that some practical solution is required. “So I think there is a need for everyone, policymakers, scientists, general public to come together to find a sustainable practical solution to the problem,” he said.

He further advised children and the elderly population as a precaution to avoid going outside, exercise and must wear an N95 mask.

“Children and elderly are at high risk of those who have underlying heart and lung disease, we usually advise that they should not go out in areas where AQI is high, we are able to monitor an AQI now in all areas, so they should look at the quality index in that area and avoid going out early in the morning or late in the evening because there tends to be more ground level pollution during this time,” he said.

Dr Guleria further added that when the sun is out and it’s a little hot because of the hot air, the pollution tends to rise up and if you have to go, you can go out during that time. One should wear a mask, especially an N95 mask that does help to some extent it’s not 100 per cent solution, but that can also be done and during times when there are high levels of air pollution exercise outside could also be avoided.” (ANI)