Delhi air pollution: What are PM10 and PM2.5 which are choking Delhi; know their harmful effects and preventive measures

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Published: November 4, 2019 2:17:14 PM

When the levels of these particles increase in the atmosphere and eventually penetrate deep into the lungs of human beings, one can experience several harmful health impacts such as breathing disorders, coughing, choking.

Delhi air pollutionScientifically, the particulate matter is a complex mixture of smoke, soot, metals, nitrates, dust water, sulphates, rubber (PTI)

As the national capital region goes breathless day after day, gasping in the toxic gas chamber it has turned into as a result of the hazardous air pollution, you might have been given an extra dose of panic with the increasing PM levels across all areas. Particulate Matter or ‘PM’ are basically minute particles present in the air and exposure to these, are extremely dangerous for human health. When the levels of these particles increase in the atmosphere and eventually penetrate deep into the lungs of human beings, one can experience several harmful health impacts such as breathing disorders, burning sensation in the eyes, coughing, choking, etc. These harmful particles present in the air are so small that they cannot be seen through the naked eyes. While, these particles have numeric levels, particle pollution in the air consists of PM2.5 and PM10, which are extremely hazardous.

What are PM 2.5 and PM 10?

  • PM 2.5 refers to the atmospheric particulate matter which has a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres. This is about 3 percent of the diameter of the human hair. The particles in PM 2.5 category are so minute that they can only be detected with the help of an electron microscope. The PM 2.5 particles are smaller than the PM 10 particles.
  • PM 10 are the particles having a diameter of 10 micrometers and they are also called as fine particles. PM 10 particles is also known as respirable particulate matter.
  • Scientifically, the particulate matter is a complex mixture of smoke, soot, metals, nitrates, dust water, sulphates, rubber, etc.
  • There is no single source from where the particulate matter is released. According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), most of the particles are created when harmful chemicals react in the atmosphere, however, others are emitted directly from a source, such as construction sites, unpaved roads, fields, smokestacks, fires, etc.

What are the harmful health effects of PM 2.5 and PM 10 ?

Due to the small size of the particles, both PM 2.5 and PM 10 act as gases. When one breathes, these particles penetrate into the lungs, which then lead to cough and asthma attacks. Other severe effects such as high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke may also occur, which can also cause premature death. The worst effect of these particles in the atmosphere happens on children and senior citizens.

In order to save one’s health from the impact of the toxic pollution, here are some common preventive measures which one can follow in the present season:

  • While traveling, wear NP5 masks which covers the nose and mouth area completely, without leaving any open spaces
  • Avoid smoking, both indoors and outdoors
  • Keep air purifiers at homes for creating safe indoor spaces for children and senior citizens

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