The impact of air pollution on the health of kids residing in four major cities of India, revealed that more than a third of schoolchildren suffer from reduced lung capacity and Delhi was the worst affected.
The students were asked to inhale and then exhale forcefully into a testing device to check their lung capacity. Dr. Preetaish Kaul, representative of Heal Foundation, which conducted the survey, said they were shocked to find so many children not being able to exhale properly.
Lung health screening test (LHST) was done to detect lung diseases and severity of lung problems. Poor test results indicate high possibilities of pulmonary diseases. For the survey, 2,373 kids in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata took the test. Of the 735 students tested in Delhi, 21% were found to have 'poor' lung capacity while another 19% had 'bad' capacity.
Four out of every 10 children screened in the capital failed the test. The World Health Organization reported that Delhi has the worst air quality among 1,600 cities around the world.
Children in the three other cities surveyed were only marginally better off. In Bengaluru, 36% had reduced lung capacity, followed by 35% in Kolkata and 27% in Mumbai.
Dr. Kaul said, "The survey was observational and we did not look into the cause of poor lung health in children. However, given the fact that most children were otherwise healthy, it will not be wrong completely to infer that poor air quality has a role to play in causing the reduced lung capacity."
"Although I did not participate in the study, there can be no denying that air pollution is affecting us badly. Children are worst impacted as they are yet in their growth years with vital organs of the body physiologically not mature enough to deal with it," said Dr Raj Kumar, who heads the respiratory allergy and applied immunology department. Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute.