10-unit rise in PM 2.5 causes 7 hospital admissions with respiratory disease a week in Delhi: Study

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New Delhi, June 23 (PTI): A 10-unit increase in PM 2.5 leads to more than seven hospital admissions due to respiratory diseases in Delhi each week, said a study conducted by Maulana Azad Medical College.

The report of the 15-month study, which started in April 2019 to assess the impact of air pollution on health, was submitted to the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) around three months ago, an official said.

The Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) was asked by the DPCC to conduct the study.

A team led by Dr Nandini Sharma, former dean and the head of the Department of Community Medicine, MAMC, collected data from Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital, Lok Nayak Hospital, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital and Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital.

According to the report, the rate and trend of the cardio-respiratory morbidity in terms of hospital admissions were corroborated with the change in values of Air Quality Index (AQI), PM10 and PM2.5 levels.

It showed that “an increase of 10 units of PM 2.5 leads to 7.09 new cumulative respiratory admissions per week, keeping other factors constant”.

“The increase in respiratory admissions (bronchitis, bronchial asthma) is directly proportional to increase in AQI,” the report read.

The study has been able to generate evidence that cardiopulmonary admissions in hospitals increase significantly with rising air pollution.

“An increase of 10 units of PM2.5 will increase 1.1 new cumulative cardiac admissions in these hospitals each week,” it said.

The research team also collected community-based data on the restriction of activity, perceived stress, awareness about the cause and perceived interventions required for improving air quality from 1,879 people in all 11 districts of Delhi.

It was found that as educational status improves, awareness about air pollution increases.

A Majority of the respondents (96.5 per cent) perceived that automobiles were the major reason for air pollution, while 77 per cent said industries are responsible for worsening air quality in Delhi.

Sixty-five per cent of the respondents attributed poor air quality to the burning of waste, while 46 per cent said it was due to construction activities. Only 28 per cent of the respondents perceived stubble burning and firecrackers as the cause of air pollution.

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