Hospital visits increased marginally post Diwali in 2017 in 10 of the 20 hospitals that the Central Pollution Control Board collected data from, for a study conducted by the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health on the board’s direction.
The report also states that increased levels of heavy metals were found in urine samples of several patients post-Diwali.
“There was evidence of increased values of barium and strontium in urine samples of many subjects. These are some of the metals used in fire-cracker manufacturing. Increased levels in urine do reflect a probability of exposure. However, all other elements are not increased to substantiate the effect of bursting of fire crackers. It is also possible that the individuals were exposed due to bursting of fire crackers directly or indirectly in their locality,” states the report.
The sample size of the study for effects of pollution post-Dussehra was 470 and that post-Diwali was 787. The people surveyed were from Pitampura, Kotla, Siri Fort and Parivesh Bhawan (Shahdara).
High level of barium in urine was above the permissible limits in all four areas, as per the report. “The level of lead in urine was above the permissible limit in Siri Fort area, with 9 out of 10 samples in the danger mark. The level of strontium in urine was above permissible limit in 4 out of 10 samples in Siri Fort and Parivesh Bhawan areas. Other areas also showed high lead and strontium levels,” the study said.
The report states that the value of strontium in PM 2.5 was 1.17 µg/m3, much higher than the days before and after the festival in Pitampura area. In Parivesh Bhawan area too, it had touched the 0.83-µg/m3 mark, also higher than the average over the previous days.
There was also a 20% increase in admission of people with stroke-related symptoms post-Diwali in four hospitals. An increase of 40% of people with cardiac problems was seen post-Diwali in eight hospitals, according to the study.
Pollution may spike today
For the fourth day in a row, air quality in Delhi was in the ‘very poor’ range at 394, only 6 points away from ‘severe’. As per the SAFAR forecast, the air quality could get worse on Friday, but a slight improvement is expected from Saturday onwards.