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NO2 levels hover near danger mark; docs warn of respiratory ailments

NO2 levels hover near danger mark; docs warn of respiratory ailments


BENGALURU, 21 NOV 2017:

 

It's not just suspended particulate matter that is choking Bengaluru. There has been a considerable increase in the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), an air pollutant that can trigger respiratory problems and eye irritation. Continued exposure to it can prove hazardous for asthma patients, say doctors.

 

A recent analysis by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) — which measures annual average values of air pollutants at 16 locations in the city — has found that for the first time, the NO2 level has crossed the national limit (40pg/m 3 ) at City railway station. NO2 levels were found to be inching closer to the danger mark at Yeshwantpur, BTM Layout, Mysuru Road, Peenya Industrial Area and KR Market.

 

A KSPCB official attributed the rise to vehicular emissions, saying transport authorities need to address the problem immediately. "When we monitor air quality, we assess levels of suspended particulate matter, NO2 and sulphur dioxide (SO2). PM10 (particulate matter of diameter 10) levels have breached the national limit at 15 of the 16 monitoring locations. While NO2 levels were within the national limit during last year's air quality review, the increase this year is worrying. Thankfully, SO2 levels continue to be within the limit (50pg/m 3 ) at all locations."

 

Dr H Paramesh, senior paediatric pulmonologist at Lakeside Hospital, said, "Oxides of nitrogen can trigger asthma attacks. Inflammation of the respiratory tract is another concern. Ailments like fever, sinusitis and excess mucus production are also caused by this chemical." The doctor said there is an urgent need to bring down vehicular emissions.

 

"Decreasing the number of private vehicles and promoting public transport are short-term measures. If we want a long-term solution, fossil fuels should be replaced with the right alternatives," he suggested.

 

TIMES VIEW

 

Bengalureans with respiratory problems now have another killer to deal with. The levels of nitrogen dioxide are reaching alarming levels and the pollution control board has identified some places in the city which are particularly badly hit. It's time for the civic authorities to take serious note of this and take pre-emptive measures to ensure that this pollutant is kept in check and within the permissible limits. Continuous exposure to nitrogen dioxide can lead to grave health problems which are also long-lasting. Tackling pollution should be a high priority, for the price we pay is high.