@ Vikas Sharma | Sr Journalist
New Delhi: Apollo Hospitals in collaboration with Indian Medical Association (IMA) organised a press conference to commemorate World Environment Day and raise awareness on the increasingly debilitating effects of air pollution. Leading specialists from Apollo Hospitals, IMA and Delhi Medical Association (DMA) identified the top sources of rising air pollution and laid down the statistical scenario elucidating how it is adversely affecting the health of people. From IMA, Dr V K Monga Chairman HBI, Dr DR Rai, Ex-Secretary General, IMA, Dr Ramesh Datta, Hony Finance Secretary, Dr Narendra Saini, Ex Secretary General, IMA, were present at the occasion.
The conference, which was in line with this year’s theme of ‘Beat air pollution’, was a call to action for all citizens to combat this global crisis at an individual level. Experts highlighted how much each individual on average contributes to air pollution, and the ways to reduce air pollution with collective efforts of the society.
The panel discussed various causes of air pollution which people might be aware of but neglect taking precautions against it.
Ms. Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals said, “WHO has unveiled astounding figures, which highlights that nine out of ten people are exposed to alarming levels of air pollution. In our country, industries, transport, agriculture, households, waste burning and a few natural elements like dust storms contribute significantly to the severity of air pollution levels every year. It is not a matter which can be solved by the government alone. Everyone must come together to address this national, or rather, global issue. We are proud to associate with IMA and DMA to increase awareness about air pollution and help in doing our bit to tackle this hazard.”
“With increasing urbanization and industrialization, air pollution has become the third-highest cause of death among all health risks. It is high time, that we as responsible citizens come together to resolve this issue and make planet earth a greener, healthier and happier place to live,” said Dr K Hariprasad, President, Apollo Hospitals Division.
Dr Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director, Apollo Hospitals Group said, “Air Pollution has shown to have deleterious effects on the respiratory system, cardiovascular system and brain. Air pollution has greater impact on children as different organ systems are developing and more vulnerable to damage. We need to check air pollution now before it causes irreversible harm.”
Dr Vinod Khetarpal, President (2011-12), Chairman, World Environment Day, Delhi Medical Association, further explained, “Apart from industrial wastes being one of the most common causes of air pollution, agricultural wastes too add on to the increasing levels year on year. Livestock that produces methane and ammonia, and the burning of agricultural waste are two major sources of air pollution from agriculture. Around 24 percent of all greenhouse gases emitted worldwide, are from agriculture, forestry and other land-use.”
Dr Girish Tyagi, President, Delhi Medical Association stated, “Burning wastes in open is also one of the factors for increasing pollution levels. Organic waste in landfills release harmful dioxins, furans, methane, and black carbon into the atmosphere. It is estimated that globally around 40 percent of the waste is openly burned. Adding to this, volcanic eruptions, dust storms and other natural processes also contribute to increasing pollution levels. Sand and dust storms are particularly concerning.”
“Understanding the different types of pollutions and how hazardous it is to our health and environment will help us to take steps towards improving the air quality around us. Often we can’t even see it, but air pollution is around us everywhere. We can’t stop breathing, but we certainly can take small- small initiatives at our end to improve the air- quality,” concluded Dr Anil Goyal, Convenor, World Environment Day, Indian Medical Association.