Delhi has been choking under a toxic grip of air pollution since Diwali, yet there have been no significant countermeasures taken.
Today, 2nd December marks 35 years since the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. This anniversary has ever since been renamed National Pollution Control/Prevention Day. The Objectives include spreading awareness on management and control of industrial pollution, preventing pollution by industrial activities and human negligence, and educating people about pollution control acts' importance.
Meanwhile, the Health Minister Harsh Vardhan comments that "no death certificate has the cause of death listed as pollution." I mean, of course, not. That's not a diagnosis. That, however, does not mean that the extreme pollution levels haven't played a part to worsen people's health, even to the point of death.
The Link Between Pollution And Cardiac Arrest
During 2019's summer heatwaves (pollution spikes) in Europe, 1435 deaths in France and around 400 deaths in the Netherlands were linked to the heatwaves, by comparing average death rates in the week to the increased rates during the crisis. However, even while remaining the most polluted city in the world for around a month now, Delhi and the NCR haven't had a single death attributed to the toxic air the citizens.
This is because the heat stress and pollution aggravate and worsen health problems that manifest in the forms of common cold and sore throat to cardiac arrest. The increased stress consistent coughing has an increased impact on the circulatory system, namely the heart. Over a period of time, this can cause grave damages, i.e. cardiac arrest and other heart problems.
India And An Aversion To Clearing The Air
Owing to the lack of linkage when it comes to Indian statistics, there is no telling how much the situation has actually worsened. Considering farmer suicide statistics from 2016 were just released in late 2019, and the everchanging reports on the actual state of our economy, it is unlikely that any official statistics tracking the impacts of the adverse conditions will be released or even recorded any time soon.
A similar lack of transparency can be witnessed in the authoritarian rule in China. The government actively controls all the media and the information that the general public receives, hence influencing general perceptions and preserving a positive image in favour of authority figures. This is rather worrying, as India is a country heralded for being the world's largest democracy. Without fundamental transparency and freedom of thought, the entire point of a democracy is lost.