Do you need an air mask in your city?
Air mask: Of all the ills of modern civilization that plague us all. Rising air pollution ranks amongst the top ones. Increased air pollution has the potential to cause widespread disease. Unfortunately, most cities in India today exhibit dangerous levels of air pollution.
How polluted is your city?
Every major city in the country has an air pollution monitoring center. You can check the website of your local station to know the daily air pollution values.
The most important parameters measured for air quality are the presence of Carbon Monoxide in the air. And the level of particulate matter (PM). These indicate the permissible levels in the air. Permissible levels indicate the level over which the pollutant may become harmful to human beings.
Most cities in the country today show higher levels of permissible pollutants that are desirable. This automatically means that the air you breathe is rife with air pollution, and it can harm your health. Pollutants like particulate matter are responsible for a variety of respiratory disorders. They may also aggravate existing conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, and bronchitis.
‘Masking’ air pollution
Comprehensive Government intervention is essential to make the air quality in our cities safe to breathe again. Civic and Government administrations are chalking up plans to ease the air congestion. And save people’s health in the long run. For instance, the ‘Odd-Even’ rule for driving in Delhi which was at reducing vehicular congestion on the road, and hence, reduce air pollution as well.
Meanwhile, urgent measures need to curb industrial effluents in the air around the cities. As also to encourage afforestation to increase the level of annual rainfall. It is clear that rain showers help air pollutants settle on the ground or wash them away. Thus purifying the area. A larger green cover also increases the levels of usable oxygen in the air.
Don’t wait for Governments to push forward with myriad initiatives. It is important to take matters into your own hands. Breathing in impure air laden with dangerous pollutants can only lead to ill health, especially among young children and senior citizens. Simple measures are needed to create a safer environment in which one may function normally with cleaner air to breathe.
The most basic step is to wear an air mask. An air mask is a mask that is strapped on to the face. It covers the nose and mouth and physically blocks the entry of pollutants into the nasal cavity and mouth. It is shaped so as to fit the contours of the face. Some masks may be adjustable to fit better.
- It is important to pick the right size of air mask so that it fits properly and does not leave any gaps for contaminated air to enter.
- Also, the mask must have vents at the sides or bottom so as to allow the user to exhale. Else, the mask will become really hot and uncomfortable.
- The best air masks are those that arrest and bar at least 95% of the PM from passing inside the mask. The mask must be fitted with special filters to trap the PM on entry.
Ask your doctor for recommendations about the best air masks you can buy in your city – and do buy them for the entire family.