More kids in hospital, schools shut as smog smothers Delhi

আপডেট: নভেম্বর ১৮, ২০২১

More children are in hospital with breathing problems as pollution levels remain dangerously high in New Delhi, doctors warned on Wednesday, and the government shut five power stations and extended school closures to try to contain the crisis.

The city of 20 million was the world’s most polluted capital for the third straight year in 2020, according to IQAir, a Swiss group, and air quality has hit hazardous levels there and in other parts of northern India this month

On some cloudless mornings the sun struggles to break through the smog, and landmarks just a few hundred metres away are barely visible.

Hospitals are seeing a sharp increase in the number of children with respiratory complaints, raising concern among parents and doctors about their health in the short and long term.

Numbers have jumped threefold in the past seven to 10 days, according to Arvind Bountra, head of paediatrics at Max Super Speciality Hospital.

“This is directly linked to high levels of pollution that the city of Delhi and NCR are witnessing…” Bountra said, referring to the National Capital Region that includes Delhi’s satellite cities.

Extended exposure to pollutants, including lead, could lead to more severe complications.”There is some study that shows that the cognitive functions of the brain (among kids) are also affected by these very small particles,” Bountra added.