India’s capital, Delhi, has been making international news in recent times, thanks to its air quality levels, which reached an ‘emergency’ level at one point, with AIr Quality Index touching 552 earlier this month.
Air pollution is known to cause respiratory tract problems, from asthma to allergies, acute respiratory infections, and in severe cases, even lung cancer. According to the World Health Organisation, over four million premature fatalities across the globe are connected to air pollution.
But this is just one aspect of pollution. This National Pollution Control Day, observed on December 2, let’s turn our attention to the many other forms of pollution and the health risks they pose.
Apart from what is known as ambient air pollution, there are also health hazards from indoor air pollution, caused by volatile organic compounds from upholstery, paints and thinners, smoke from stoves, and dust mites. Then, there is the pollution of water, soil and sound. Dumping of unsegregated waste in landfills can lead to diseases such as dysentery, typhoid or cholera. Disposal of chemical wastes into water bodies can affect people living in the vicinity and cause cancers and infections, and even permanent deformities. Polluted water also affects marine life, a major source of food for vast populations across the world. Sound pollution can cause hearing impairment and damage to the ear drums.
First things first, get yourself some health cover
Worried about your and your family’s health? You have reason to be. Look up one of the health insurance plans, available on Finserv MARKETS, and ensure you have adequate cover for your family. Health insurance policies offer you access to over 6,500 network hospitals so it offers you a wide choice. The health insurance plan also comes with a no-claim bonus, for those who have not made any claims during each year of the policy. Claim settlement is swift and you can avail of cashless services for your treatment.
It is important that measures are taken at the policy and government level, but citizens too can do their bit at the personal and community level to tackle the scourge of pollution.
Read on for steps you can take to combat pollution and protect your health:
Avoid burning of waste. Municipal bodies should levy huge fines to check the menace of burning waste in open areas, and you as a citizen should ensure that you don’t burn waste under any circumstances. The burning of waste can cause asthma and respiratory problems. Plastic that is burning can release heavy metals that are harmful for health.
Waste segregation at home is crucial. It is important that municipal workers collect segregated waste and take steps to recycle non biodegradable waste. Biodegradable waste can be converted into compost, both at the home and municipal body level.
Indoor air pollution is serious if not worse than outdoor air pollution. Using energy-efficient air purifiers and dehumidifiers help. Avoid smoking indoors, if you can quit smoking altogether. Avoiding synthetic carpeting and upholstery, using non VOC paints and other material, steering clear of chemical pesticides and adding greenery can go a great deal in combating indoor air pollution.
Hand over e-waste to an NGO in your city that handles collection and recycling of discarded electronic products. According to the UN Environment Program, although the world generates 50 mn tonnes of e-waste annually, a mere 20 percent of it is recycled (2). Individuals, citizen bodies and the government could take steps to ensure that a larger portion of electronic waste is recycled.
Avoid canned food, water bottles or feeding bottles for babies that come with a chemical that is largely used in plastic packaging – bisphenol A. Research has in the past associated the use of the chemical to many health conditions such as heart disease, infertility and hormone-related disorders. A new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives says BPA exposure can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Ensure that the water you drink is safe, and free from total dissolved solids or TDS or other biological contaminants. Get your tap water tested for presence of any micro organisms that spread water-borne diseases such as cholera or diarrhoea. If your water source is from a tank or freshwater source, you should get yourself an appropriate water purifier with UV filtration to stay healthy. If the water contains a high level of total dissolved solids,(typically water from a borewell), you could use reverse osmosis based water filters. The upper limit for TDS in your drinking water must be 500 ppm, according to the Bureau of Indian Standards. The total dissolved solids refer to salts such as sodium magnesium, calcium and chlorides, among others.
Your health is extremely important, and the environment we live in has a huge bearing on it. Ensure that you take all proactive steps, and to make doubly sure, get yourself health insurance so you can always fall back on access to good healthcare. Choose either an individual or family health insurance plan, available on Finserv MARKETS. The coverage for individual health insurance has a sum insured of up to Rs 50,00,000. You can get a free health check-up once in three years of your policy period. A family plan will ensure coverage for up to four dependent children, yourself and your spouse. What’s more you can also claim tax benefits on the premium paid under section 80D of the IT Act.
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