With air quality in the capital showing no signs of improvement this winter, Delhi Police has decided to make pollution masks a mandatory accessory of uniforms worn by its traffic personnel, apart from caps, shoes and fluorescent jackets.
The decision was taken after several complaints from traffic personnel of ill-health and respiratory complications due to the long duty hours on Delhi’s roads. Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma approved the uniform tweak this week along with the purchase of top-quality pollution masks.
Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Ajay Kashyap confirmed the decision that will benefit over 5,600 traffic policemen in Delhi. “We will make it mandatory and it will be a part of the official uniform distributed every year,” said Kashyap.
The technical specifications of the required mask has been sent to the provisioning and logistics unit that will float a tender in the coming days, he said.
“Until now, pollution masks were being distributed on demand. But the quality of such masks is bad. The masks that we have approved are far better in terms of quality and will filter over 90 per cent of dust,” said Kashyap.
Traffic personnel in Delhi have long duty hours, particularly during the festive season. Officially, they work in either of two shifts — 7 am to 3 pm or 3 pm to 11 pm — but their duty hours often extend several hours beyond that due to shortage of staff.
The decision to purchase the masks comes after authorities started broadcasting daily air quality reports over traffic police wireless sets. Traffic personnel are also being alerted about precautionary measures to be taken, including using fluorescent jackets on foggy days.