By Aakanksha Khajuria
New Delhi, Oct 21 (IANS) As Delhi reels under another tryst with air pollution, several public health experts have flagged a spike in the number of patients reporting irritation in eyes because of toxic pollutants. The noxious air causes dry eye disease, which if left untreated, could lead to vision problems, they warn.
The air pollution reaches a peak in Delhi and its surrounding regions every winter, when pollution from stubble burning and local sources combines with the suspended water droplets in the lower atmosphere to form a thick blanket of noxious smog, thus creating health hazards.
On Wednesday, the capital city's 24-hour average air quality index stood at 258, which falls in the 'poor' category. The System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) categorises air quality in the 0-50 range as good, 51-100 as satisfactory, 101-200 as moderate, 201-300 as poor, 301-400 as very poor and above 400 as severe.
Dr Rohit Gera, a Delhi-based eye doctor, said that various cases of irritation in eyes have been reported, especially in children as well as office-goers due to the deteriorating air quality. "Their eyes were already reeling under the increased screen time because of the coronavirus pandemic and now they are having irritation in eyes because of chemicals, and pollutants in the air."
Gera, an ophthalmologist at Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, added: "Some have also been developing dry eye symptoms. It is a chronic condition and if left untreated for a long time, it can lead to vision problems. One needs to include food which contains omega 3 and antioxidants besides drinking loads of water to manage dry eye syndrome."
He said that if the air seems hazy from pollution, people should limit time outdoors, protect eyes with sunglasses, or clear safety glasses. "If you wear contact lenses, clean them thoroughly. The need of the hour is to give rest to the eyes and relax," he added.
Dr Tushar Grover, the Medical Director of the Vision Eye Centre, said that the widespread perception that pollution mostly impacts lungs is misconceived, as it is also severely detrimental to eye health.
"As toxic pollutants come in contact with outer surface of the eye, especially cornea and conjunctiva, they feel itchy, irritated and become red with a moderate to sharp burning sensation."
"The eyes can develop dry eye disease which can not only cause discomfort but also lead to blurring of vision due to damage to the surface of the eye. Smog in winters can lead to severe dry eye, impairing both the quantity and quality of tears produced, as a result of which your eyes are deprived of necessary lubrication. Additionally, the risk of catching eye infections also increases," he added.
Grover stressed the importance of observing practices such as wearing sunglasses when stepping out, keeping hydrated, avoiding rubbing of eyes, washing hands before touching their eyes, taking frequent breaks from use of laptops and mobiles and having their eyes periodically lubricated with eye drops.
As per the Central Pollution Control Board, out of 35 pollution monitoring stations, the air quality index in as many as nine stations is in the very poor category, while 20 stations recorded the index in the poor category, five logged it in moderate category and two remained non-functional.
Vivek Vihar in Delhi eastern district recorded the highest AQI at 367, followed by 348 by the pollution monitoring station at west Delhi's Dwarka Sector 8. Delhi's neighbouring areas, including Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Meerut and Gurugram are also recording foul air. Faridabad is currently the most polluted amongst all.
(Aakanksha Khajuria can be contacted at email@example.com)
Bengaluru, Nov 25 (IANS) South Western Railway's (SWR) Divisional Railway Manager, Ashok Kumar Verma, on Tuesday flagged off the first export-bound New Modified Goods (NMG) rake from the Hosur railway station to neighbouring Bangladesh.
This is the first NMG rake dispatched by the South Western Railway to Bangladesh.
Speaking to reporters, Verma said the rake consisting of 25 wagons loaded with 100 light commercial vehicles (LCVs) is called "Dost" and has been manufactured by Ashok Leyland. It left for Benapole railway station in Bangladesh.
He said that transportation of automobiles by train is safer and faster compared to transportation by road. "Nont only it is safe and cheaper, but it is also easy to monitor the movement of the consignment in trains with real-time check in practice," he said.
The SWR in a statement claimed that earlier, the Bengaluru division had dispatched two export-bound NMG rakes to Nautanwa (Nepal) from the Penukonda railway station. "Overall, the division has loaded 128 NMG rakes during the current financial year," the statement added.
Verma said the Bengaluru division, which was mainly transporting raw materials and essential commodities, took to loading of automobiles for the first time when it transported 175 tractors from the Doddaballapur railway station to Phuleria in Rajasthan on April 29 this year.
Upbeat about change in the recent policies such as two points unloading of NMG rakes and exemption of terminal charges for automobiles, Verma said that these policy changes have certainly boosted the loading of automobiles by India in Railways.
"In 2020-21, five NMG rakes have been loaded from Hosur. Apart from the rake that left for Bangladesh today, 5,528 two-wheelers have been sent in four rakes to Mandideep in Madhya Pradesh," the Verma said.
The SWR statement added that during the current year, 65 rakes of automobiles manufactured by TAFE, mainly tractors, have been transported by train from the Doddaballapur railway station near Bengaluru.
Till date, a total of 5,600 cars have been transported to Farukh Nagar in Haryana and Nautanwa in Uttar Pradesh from Penukonda in 55 rakes.