More than 30 per cent of people tested for lung function on the third day of the odd-even policy were found to have compromised lung function, according to doctors associated with the programme.
The Delhi government started voluntary lung function tests from mobile vans in nine sites after starting the road rationing policy. Doctors said the number of people with poor lung function was found to be especially high in east Delhi.
Data provided by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has already shown a higher concentration of particulates in east Delhi compared to the rest of the city, since the rollout of the odd-even policy on January 1.
Doctors from Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) who are manning these vans said that out of the 188 people tested Monday across the city, 64 were found to have poor lung function. Dr Suneela Garg, professor in community medicine at MAMC, who is collating the data said a 34 per cent positivity in the test findings had been seen.
“We are doing simple spirometry tests, which is showing a rate of lung function between 40 and 50 per cent (among the 64 found to have poor lung function). The rate of positive findings is the highest in east Delhi,” added Dr Garg.
A spirometry test measures the quantity of air inhaled and exhaled by the lungs at a particular time, and is conducted on the spot.
Doctors said data particular to east Delhi was still to be analysed, but “general trends” pointed to an increased incidence of impaired lung function in the region. Tests have been conducted so far in Vikas Marg near Lakshmi Nagar in east Delhi.
On Sunday, 91 people took the test and 25 were found to have poor lung function. Of the 55 who took the test Saturday, 16 had problems in lung function.
Of the nine units spread across the city Monday, a few were near Delhi Secretariat. “The compromised lung function is quite high among government employees,” said Dr Garg.
Incidentally, data-based on-spot monitoring has also shown that since January 1, pollution rates are very high in east and north east Delhi. PM 10 levels at Anand Vihar, Patparganj and Kondli were over 500 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m³) on Friday. In Lakshmi Nagar Saturday, the values were found to be over 600 µg/m³. In south and central Delhi, the particulate matter levels the same day were between 100-150 µg/m³.
The spirometry tests were scheduled to be conducted at Rajiv Chowk Metro Station, ITO, Nehru Place, Jama Masjid, Vikas Marg, ISBT, Anand Vihar, Kashmere Gate, Kamla Nagar market near KMC gate, Delhi Haat and Shadipur Depot from January 2.
Due to ongoing construction activities, the Delhi Haat unit was moved to Malviya Nagar Monday. Tests could not be conducted at ISBT Anand Vihar too due to equipment fault, said Dr Garg.