With AQI 140, Lucknowites ‘smoke’ 7-8 cigarettes a day

Lucknow: Residents of Lucknow that records an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 140 and more, are passively smoking 7-8 cigarettes a day.

Lucknow, at least during the peak winter period, is one of the nine such cities in Uttar Pradesh.

These were a few of the disturbing facts that came to the fore during a daylong workshop on air pollution and climate change organised by the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) and the Lung Care Foundation (LCF) on Wednesday.

Titled Solutions for Health, Air Pollution, and Environment in Uttar Pradesh (SHAPE-UP), the workshop urged people to change their lifestyle and spoke of collective efforts to mitigate the challenges of climate change.

“Of all the patients suffering from lung infection that I used to treat in the 1980s, about 85 per cent were smokers. But now, over 50 per cent of my patients are non-smokers but have lungs resembling that of a smoker who smokes 7-8 cigarettes a day,” said LCF founder and trustee Dr Arvind Kumar.

Minister of state (independent), environment and climate change, Arun Kumar Saxena, suggested that reliance on solar energy and LPG gas for cooking instead of wood or stubble can bring a significant change.

Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), environment, forest and climate change Manoj Singh said climate change was an issue of inter-generational justice.

“While physics and chemistry exist across our solar system, biological life is only on Earth. It is our collective responsibility to see what we are leaving behind for the next generation,” Singh said.

Another issue that came to the fore was emissions from the industries and the need to make manufacturing among the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) greener.

“Don’t penalise entrepreneurs. Help them with technological support by promoting biodiesel or other technology. Ensure that we do not rely on diesel generators by providing seamless power supply,” said IIA president Neeraj Singhal.

Dr Suryakant, professor and head of the department, respiratory medicine, King George’s Medical University (KGMU), said, “Only 30 per cent of the smoke goes into the body of a smoker while 70 per cent of the smoke goes into the passive smoker or into the environment.”

“UP is facing an air pollution challenge primarily due to seven root causes, including traffic, construction, smoking, biomass fuel, factories, which are causing diseases like asthma bronchitis, lung cancer among others,” the doctor said, adding that children are most affected by it because of their height, as dust remained suspended at a lower level the most.

The event called upon people to adopt simple measures like quitting smoking, burning wood for cooking or other purposes and planting samplings.

“Civil society plays a pivotal role in bringing long term behavioural change. Thus, their role becomes imperative in taking this message to the people and stress upon lifestyle changes that they can incorporate to mitigate challenges of climate change,” said former director general at CRPF and patron at LCF A.P. Maheshwari.


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