Life & Style

Pollution In Delhi: European Union diplomats in Delhi to install air purifiers to beat pollution

February 26, 2015 02:12 AM
Ever increasing pollution level in Delhi

NEW DELHI: The European Union has directed its diplomats in Delhi to install air purifiers at home and office to reduce exposure to high air pollution levels. 

Just before President Obama arrived in Delhi last month, the US embassy reportedly "purchased over 1,800 high-performance portable indoor air purifiers to protect employees", according to a Chicago-based air purifier company. 

Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union to India Joao Cravinho said EU would not monitor air pollution levels in Delhi as the US embassy in Chanakyapuri is already doing so but hoped India would implement tougher policies to fight pollution. 

"We don't need to monitor the pollution level; the US is doing that ... But we need to respond for the safety of our staff...living in the city," Cravinho told a news agency on Wednesday.

Just before President Obama arrived in Delhi last month, the US embassy reportedly "purchased over 1,800 high-performance portable indoor air purifiers to protect employees", according to a Chicago-based air purifier company. 

The European Union has very strict laws and policies on air pollution and other environmental issues. 

UK, for instance, is facing a fine of £300 million a year for repeatedly violating the European Union's directive on air quality and not meeting the standard for oxides of nitrogen, which are major contributors to air pollution. Besides, there is legal pressure from the European Court of Justice on Britain's polluting cities. 

France, a member of EU, announced recently that it would ban diesel cars in Paris to cut down on air pollution.

"Air filters are a temporary fix that people who can afford them can avail. They're costly and require maintenance. It's true that air filters can bring down particulate pollution almost immediately. But there are many other pollutants such as oxides of nitrogen, benzene and ozone. The poor are worst affected," said T K Joshi, director of Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health. 

Experts also said the filters inside an air purifier cannot trap all the allergens that can cause asthma. The use of the ionization filtration technique in certain air purifier brands emits ozone which, in fact, harms the lungs in the long run and completely defeats the purpose of using a purifier. Asthma patients, however, can use air purifiers for an emergency, Joshi said.

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