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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Health Ministry details link between pollution, Covid before House panel

The Ministry has also suggested that the virus may potentially survive longer in conditions of high air pollution, it is learnt.

Written by Esha Roy | New Delhi | November 7, 2020 3:33:01 am
Delhi: Pollutants 20 times above exposure limitLevels of PM 10 and PM 2.5 suspended in the air reached 15-20 times above their exposure limit at 17 out of 26 air quality monitoring stations of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) Tuesday morning. (Express file photo by Praveen Khanna)

In a presentation to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban Development, which convened a meeting on air pollution on Friday, the Health Ministry is learnt to have stated that high air pollution may increase episodes of coughing and sneezing, spreading Covid-19 faster as well as lead to more particle surface for the “virus to stick’’ and get transported over greater distance.

The Ministry has also suggested that the virus may potentially survive longer in conditions of high air pollution, it is learnt. As many as 52 officers from different departments, as well as representatives from Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and UP, were present at the meeting.

“There were a number of concerns raised including links between Covid-19 and air pollution, as well as issues like whether the government has or intends to issue guidelines or protocols for Diwali for which a number of states have already banned the use of firecrackers,’’ said a source.

Stubble burning was also discussed, it is learnt. The ministry also said there was a direct relation between air pollution and asthma and cardiovascular diseases and 21 of the 30 worst polluted cities in the world were in India, it is learnt.

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