The following is an open letter from a mother of two who lives in the Delhi-NCR region. Her story is likely to resonate with many of you.
My name is Dr. R. Sharma. I am a mother of two and a doctor by profession. In 2017, I noticed that my younger child was developing cough around the months of the festival Diwali. After 15 days of dry cough, they suddenly devolved acute respiratory distress and I contacted a pulmonologist. He told me that my child had developed bronchitis due to high pollution level (at that time, AQI was ~600).
We started oral medication as well as nebulisation , and after a month of continuous medication, there was only 50% improvement. Then, I decided to send them to my parental village in the hope of clean air. There was a drastic improvement in their respiratory symptoms even without medication and when they came back to the city (Ghaziabad), they again developed similar respiratory symptoms. Around the same time, my other child also developed similar respiratory symptoms . Since the last six months, both of my kids are on medication. I am depressed due to this situation and now I have decided to move from NCR with my kids. My husband has to stay in the city for his job, so I am moving with the kids.
The major source of pollution in the area around my residence is a number of polluting factories. I contacted relevant authorities including the DM’s office and CM’ s office in Lucknow but no satisfactory action has been undertaken.
In closing, I want to say that in coming years this will be the major problem for our coming generations. Uncontrolled industrialization and urbanization will lead to an epidemic of major diseases like lung cancer , bronchitis, asthma, autism etc. The list is never ending. Our next generation will have to pay a heavy price for this nightmare.
This is my sad pollution story . #RightToBreathe
Resources on information related to the impact of air pollution on children’s health:
Air pollution and children’s health [download pdf]
UNICEF Reports on the Impact of Air Pollution on Children
Find Dr. Sharma on Twitter.
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