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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 117-125

Assessment of the air quality and its impact on health and environment in India

1 Department of Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Environmental Sciences, Central Pollution Control Board, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Mradul Kumar Daga
Department of Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, University of Delhi, New Delhi - 110 002
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/INJMS.INJMS_15_19

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Introduction: The health impact of air pollution caused by firecrackers used during festival time is an area of great concern in Indian population. Trapping of pollutants due to burning of firecrackers during Diwali and Dusshera festivals promotes the formation of smog, which leads to raise in respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) and SPM values above the standard values. Aim: This study was designed to assess the air quality pre- and post-Diwali and Dusshera in North India and also to find out the exposure effect of poor air quality on the health of population as well as health risk assessment of the population. Materials and Methods: A total of 470 individuals of different age groups were interviewed during Dusshera festival (i.e., both pre- and post-Dusshera) in four chosen areas. Besides, 788 individuals of different age groups were interviewed during Diwali festival (i.e., both pre- and post-Diwali) in the same four areas. A total of 223 individuals also underwent pulmonary function testing (portable spirometry) on a random basis (fifty in each area, 3 days before and after Diwali). Results: The comparison of respiratory disease complaints pre- and post-Diwali showed that there was a significant increase in the complaints of cough post-Diwali among the participants of Kotla (6.7% vs. 28.9%). However, there was a significant decrease in cough and breathlessness post-Diwali in Parivesh Bhawan. The ambient air quality of three residential areas was within normal limits both pre- and post-Diwali with respect to sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, but there was an increase in the levels of PM10 and PM2.5 post-Diwali. Conclusion: The level of suspended particles in the air increases alarmingly which can be associated with eye, respiratory, and allergic problems. Crackers and fireworks were found to be the chief sources of air pollution during festivals in India. Even though the impact of Diwali is short term, the short-term exposure of these pollutants in the environment affects the standard values of air particulate and can cause health complications.

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