Our capital city, New Delhi is once again in the news for the wrong reasons; it is reeling under severe air-pollution forcing the Delhi government to order a total shut-down of the city.Schools and colleges are directed to be closed down, children are discouraged from playing outside and people are cautioned against venturing outside.This itself implies the magnitude of the situation.There is no doubt that pollution is an after effect of an unplanned city model, where rapid modernization is given priority with scant regard to the environment.It may be Delhi which is reeling under the effect now, but the truth is that almost all Indian cities are vulnerable to the threat of pollution.If you look at the trajectory of growth of any Indian city, we can see that all of them has a similar pattern of development.Rules are flouted for constructing buildings,lake-beds are encroached upon, the vehicular population is not controlled, garbage is not disposed of scientifically…All these contribute to the deterioration of the quality of life in the city and pollution is one of the major after-effects.
Air pollution increases the particulate matter in the air.Particulate matters are small particles from industrial sources, less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter.This can get lodged in the lungs when we inhale the polluted air for a long duration leading to various ailments like heart disease, diabetes, stroke and a shorter lifespan.Students are particularly vulnerable to the effects of pollution.Studies have proved that long-term exposure to ambient pollution can lead to the growth of white-matter lesions, potentially inhibiting cognition.Students’ levels of the stress hormones cortisol, cortisone, epinephrine and norepinephrine rose with dirtier air, as did their levels of blood sugar, amino acids, fatty acids, and lipids. Air pollution can also impact the nervous system, leading to symptoms such as memory disturbance, fatigue, and blurred vision.Hence it becomes necessary that students should take adequate measures to combat pollution.
Students can take many precautions to reduce the ill-effects of pollution on their body.Some measures suggested by renowned doctors include
1) Do not go out in the early mornings.Data received from monitoring the air quality during various times of the day indicates that air quality is at its worst during the early-morning hours.Shift your outdoor activities to the evening hours.
2)Whenever possible use face masks when you are outdoors.N95/N99 masks are the best.Covering your face with your dupatta also can reduce the inhalation of polluted air though it is not a fool-proof method.
3)Steaming daily in the evening with a few drops of eucalyptus oil helps in relaxing the air passages and removing the harmful particulate substances.
4)Ventilate your home when it is bright and sunny as that is the time when particulate matters are lowest in the air.
5)Jaggery helps in flushing out pollutants from the body.Try to incorporate it into the diet.A healthy diet rich in Vitamin-C, magnesium and omega fatty acids will help in strengthening the immunity of the body and it can beat the effects of pollution.Having herbal ginger or tulsi tea twice daily can also help in minimising the effects of pollution on the body.
Students must also actively involve in reducing the environmental pollution.College students, instead of using private vehicles to travel should rely on public transport whenever possible.Go by walking to nearby places.Switch off fans and lights when not in use.Try to recycle goods.Do not throw garbage onto the streets.Habits like smoking will not only damage one’s health but also cause pollution.Bursting crackers release toxic gases into the air.Hence one should refrain from such harmful practices.Convince your family members on the ill effects of cracker-bursting during festivals.Whenever possible contribute to a healthy environment by planting trees or by volunteering to clean up water bodies.After all, a clean and healthy environment is not just aesthetically pleasing, it is an essential requirement for one’s health.