Thursday, March 1, 2012

Air, Water, Noise

A co-worker who spends part of his time in our city researched and came up with the below statistics.  Hum, maybe I didn't want to actually know!  It's a very real part of life here, however, as we all deal with frequent respiratory issues, probably loss of some of our hearing, etc.   No wonder that a major topic of conversation for our family in NZ recently was how much we enjoyed breathing the air there! 

(The below sounds terrible but lots of people survive here this way and we're doing fine, Mom!) 

Here goes:
The ideal count of Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) and Respiratory Particulate Matter (RPM) should not exceed 140 and 60 respectively. Our city’s average SPM count is 211 and RPM count is 105. And in the worst polluted traffic intersections, this count can be double that again during busy hours. (Hum, no wonder it takes my breathing longer than I think it should to regulate after running up the 3 flights of steps out of the Metro when I pick Adam up from school!)

Nitrogen dioxide (from car exhaust and other sources of burnt fossil fuels), in the presence of sunlight, forms ozone, which is extremely harmful for crops and lungs. Both of these chemicals saturate our city. While NO2doesn’t move from one place to another, ozone (O3) does and it flows in from other regions covering the city in a thick layer of smog. The air mass also includes solid dust particles and sulphuric acid. Daily, our lungs and bodies are literally swimming in an activated chemical soup. (And sometimes you can feel acid drops hit your skin or eyes as you walk down the street.)

Human Oxygen requirements
 20.9-23.5%: Maximum permissible oxygen level.
 20.9%: Oxygen found in normal air.
 19.5%: Minimum permissible oxygen level.
 15-19%: Decreased ability to work strenuously.
 12-15%: Respiration and pulse increase; impaired coordination, perception and judgment occurs.
-Studies have shown oxygen levels to fall to 17% and below on regular occasions in our city.-

A study has also shown that chronic exposure to the air pollution of our city that arises mostly from vehicular exhausts of more than 1.2 million motor vehicles adversely affect the health of its residents. It impairs lung function, increases the risk of contracting the life-threatening Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease, elicits pulmonary and systemic inflammation, causes covert pulmonary hemorrhage, alters immunity that may make people susceptible to infection, increases the risk of hypertension and the related cardio-vascular diseases, damages DNA and our chromosomes, interferes with DNA damage repair mechanisms and enhances dysplasia of the airway cells. 

The River
In 2011, The H. River was left so polluted after the first day of Durga puja’s idol immersions that millions of fish and aquatic plants were found dead. Anyone who went into the water faced the danger of falling severely ill due to zinc and heavy metal poisoning. Remember, this water is fed to the slums everyday. (It's gross.  Really gross.  All the time.)

The Noise
The information on this part was pretty exact as to where we are located, but suffice to say that the noise outside of our windows during Durga Puja season in October was actually louder than a 747 Jumbo Jet!

Thanks, Dave, for the stats!

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