Metropolitan India is suffering from the problem of air and water pollution. India is not uniquely challenged when it comes to high pollution levels. Many major cities of the world, for example, Los Angeles, Paris, Shanghai, Beijing, Moscow, and Buenos Aires are grappling with the issues of clean air and water.
According to a report by WHO, 9 out of 10 people across the world breathe polluted air. This statistic can’t get more alarming, as 90% of the people in the world are deprived of a basic biological right- to breathe clean air.
Though government and non-government institutions are taking action by actively constituting laws and policies to deal with pollution and aftermaths, the onus of well-being is on us.
Here we have listed some simple yet effective precautions to reduce the effects of pollution on human health.
1. Use of air purifying disposable particulate masks outdoors
With the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, wearing masks has become the new normal. However, in India, these masks provide protection not only against the virus but also against the polluted air that that we constantly breathe in. Disposable particulate masks ensure protection from pollution, smog, and dust. To ensure their efficient functioning change them every 8 hours or when they get moist. Masks differ with their fit of the face seal, nose clip and snugness of buckle strap. So, you will have to try a few brands to find the one which fits you the best. It is also important to see how light and fold-able the mask is if you plan to use it for a longer duration. You also need to check if the mask is compatible in hot and humid conditions because that is how it is mostly going to be.
2. Consume only packaged drinking water
Consuming packaged drinking water is helpful not only to avoid water pollution but also different flavors of water due to different hardness levels. India has rich mineral levels in natural water and that changes its taste. Packaged drinking water is easily available all across the country and even in remote areas. Just check that the seal is not tampered with and the brand is genuine. Some of the reliable brands in India are Himalaya, Bisleri and Aquafina.
3. Make use of an air purifier
If you would be staying in a hotel, it is a good idea to check if they provide portable air purifier. All the good establishments provide it by default. Portable air purifiers also help in case you have allergies. Since India is a country having major shifts in construction, dust is a major irritant. Hence, to have cleaner indoors, a portable air purifier is a must. Even if you are staying in your own accommodation, it is advisable to purchase or rent a portable air purifier.
4. Avoid staying outdoors when air quality is not congenial
Government releases timely warning if the air quality is not conducive outdoors. All the metropolitan cities have installed billboards displaying air quality index at prominent places. You may download the Expat Orbit app, which will keep you abreast with the air quality index on a real-time basis. This is the most effective strategy against pollution for babies, kids and elderly.
5. Avoid exercising outdoors
During cardio exercise like running, you need an increased amount of air to compensate for increased oxygen need. It is not advisable to exercise outdoors when air quality is poor because you will be taxing your lungs with more pollutants than normal. India is currently booming with yoga studios and health centers, some of which are renowned global chains like Cult Fit. You could choose to join one of those for your daily dose of exercise.
6. Avoid visiting North India during smog season
In case you have prior sensitivity towards the particulate matter or a respiratory challenge like asthma, you can consider postponing your visit to North India. Northern regions have substantial smog levels during October-December due to cold temperature, weather disturbances and illegal crop burning. The government has taken cognizance of the situation and has rolled restrictions like- odd/even rule of traffic in New Delhi during 2017-2018, ban on burning of crop stubble, closing of schools, and restricted use of Diwali fireworks.
7. Grow air purifying plants inside home
Though technically all plants purify air, some of them are more effective in keeping indoor atmosphere cleaner. Air purifying plants also add to the aesthetics of home. Some of the easily maintained and hypoallergic plants are-Spider plant, Erica palm, Money plant, Peace Lilly, Snake plant, English Ivy, and others.